Water is life.
But are you treating it that way in your own home? Your own community?
The products you may be using every single day could be inadvertently adding to the pollution of water beyond repair in our lifetime.
- nano particles (nano silver used in the ever growing amount of “antibacterial” fabrics and products coming out now, Teflon, etc, in SOOO many new items with a vast variety of names)
- microplastics/microfibres (many polyester blend or “high technology” fabrics are made with this).
- Certain prescription medications or other drugs (either flushed or urinated)
- oils, heavy metals, paints, dyes, additives, cleaning chemicals, detergents, etc
- plastics (which can degrade over time into microplastics)
- silicone (the new plastic that we’ll likely be trying to move away from in 10+ years when the realization that it does actually break down in high or low temperatures, especially when mass produced with cheap filler is discovered)
- microbeads (in many bodily products)
- many many more
All of these items wind up in our water ways. Mixing with the water. Injested by aquatic species. Many of these are not adequately being screened or cleaned out of our water supplies and you personally, no matter how “clean” a life you live, likely already have these chemicals or nanoparticles or microplastics in your body and stomach as I type this. We all do, sadly.
The ONLY way we change this for the next generations is by changing our culture of consumption and seeking to repair the damages we have caused. There are no bandaid products that we can replace them with that are not also going to have ramifications in the future. We can only decide to treat things in our care with more care, ensure we do our best to minimize the leaching of toxins into the world around us, and ensure to maintain our goods as best we can to reduce wear and having to consume more. When we do need to buy, as we inevitably will in our capitalistic/individualistic culture until some greater societal changes occur, we can just strive to buy more lasting products in more natural and sustainable materials as best we can, that has traveled the least distance. This will require some sacrifices of what we are used to. Small, incremental changes over time add up.
Natural fabrics and materials like cotton, wool, linen, glass, cast iron, wax, wood, etc do not have the same toxic consequences as long as they are not lined/dyed/stained/etc. with problematic coatings and often have a significantly longer lifespan overall. Upfront costs are higher at initial purchase or creation, but they generally result in overall savings over the life of the product.
Remember. Recycling is but a tiny tiny piece of the puzzle. Reducing consumption comes first. That goes for what we use product wise, and energy wise. Renewable energies and electric cars are NOT without environmental and ethical consequences themselves and currently require batteries with rare Earth metals in limited supply.
Reusing. Sharing. Mending. Doing without all our desires and wants. These are all practices we must return to. If you were lucky enough to have elders in your life who lived through the war or depression, you’ve likely seen their conservative habits that may have lasted their lifetime. Your children and grandchildren’s lives may depend on how we behave right now. All of us.
Technology is great. But if it doesn’t consider the FULL cost, the FULL lifetime and effect it has, from creation to disposal, it is not advanced. It is not civilized.
It is actually truly bizarre that we willingly poison ourselves and our surroundings for luxuries that have only given our lives more stress. Do you know the average hunter gatherer spends on average only 20 hours a week or less ensuring their needs are met and spends most of the rest of their time in social activities? And that they spend the majority of the time working with others in their social group, singing, laughing, talking while they work. Many in our society sit in cubicles and eat our lunch at our desks alone while working through spreadsheets, spend an hour commuting alone, and live rather separate and distant lives from our community.
There is a way to blend the old and the new. To take what’s good from what we have learned and discard the bad. It starts with being aware and saying no to more “luxuries” that poison us. No to our every single immediate want and desire to buy. Demanding the companies change their processes and packaging. Buying local. Demanding governments ensure our waters and soils are not polluted.
It is almost too late.
What you can do:
- Check your household products. Do NOT just throw them out and buy all new products. Old cookware can slowly be replaced, piece by piece as they wear. Ensure the Teflon or other hazardous materials are sent to to the proper waste or recycling facility. In most areas, they can not be put out with regular waste and will only end up leaching into the waterways through the dumps if discarded in this way.
- Contact your favourite brands and ask them if they will consider switching to reusable containers or paper/compostable wrappings. Ask them about their supply chains, their dyes and additives.
- Consider localizing your food, household goods, and stop using disposable or non natural/sustainable products whenever possible
- Consider where your purchase will end up at the end of its use.
- Consider before purchasing: Do I really need this? Can I mend what I have currently? Can I borrow from someone else? Can I reuse and/or purchase used? Are there other alternatives that are made from natural materials like wool, cotton, linen, glass, ceramics, wax, metal, etc? Are there any locally produced?
- Convince others in your life, at your workplace, your family, your communities, your governments, to make similar changes for the good of us all.
- Remind yourself that it is not your fault that we are in this situation, and that if you do not have the capacity right now to switch to these products (many are expensive, require extensive research, etc), do not beat yourself up over it. The amounts in many of these items in your home are trace amounts, so not likely going to change the overall amount you are ingesting or absorbing significantly. And it is not a change that can be made without planning and consideration. Make an effort when you can to shop smart when you can afford to.
- Have conversations with people about our relationships to other beings on this planet and what we owe to them (the two legged, the four legged, the winged, those in the sky, those in the seas, the soil, the minerals, the plants, the rocks, the water… What legacy do we want to for the next generations?
- When you see all the beings on Mother Earth as relations, and your intentions and interactions with them in terms of relationships, exploitation and destruction becomes rather impolite. They give us many gifts freely, and in return we leave them sick with our greed.
What local and natural products do you recommend? Do you have any recipes for any household products you make yourself? Share them in the comments below.