I’m challenging myself to make 5 changes every week, whether large or small, that have a positive impact on this world. After all, if we don’t celebrate the small changes, we’ll never have the guts to make the big changes.
1. Shopped at a Farmers Market
Open air Farmers Markets are the way to go in the summer time. Produce is grown and harvested locally, so it is fresh, delicious, and packed with all the right vitamins and minerals. Since the produce is grown locally, the energy expended to get the produce to your front door is significantly less than, say, the tropical fruits sold by your local grocery store. In addition to all that, the market is outside – no energy hogging air conditioning or refrigeration required.
My farmer’s market sells meat, baked goods, local seasonal vegetables and fruits, and dairy products. Bring a big tote or two to haul your groceries home in to reduce plastic bag usage. If you live in the country, there are probably farmers’ markets every couple of miles. If you live in a metropolitan location, check your city website or Google Farmer’s Markets in your area
2. Purchased herb planters
Florists and gardeners go back generations in my family. I finally got tired of purchasing small sprigs of herbs for certain recipes, then throwing out the plastic boxes in which they were sold. I have started with three plants: basil, rosemary, and thyme. My local Shoprite sells small plants in planters. Since I have great southwest exposure in my apartment, I thought it was time I took advantage of it.
Hot tip – avoid any planter without a hole in the bottom of it and a matching tray. Roots need oxygen to stay healthy and grow, just like the rest of the plant. The hole in the bottom of a planters allows oxygen into the soil while the tray prevents the water from leaking everywhere when you water the plants.
3. Didn’t buy new clothes at the mall.
I went to the mall and the only thing I bought was a shirt for my fiancé! I don’t need any new clothing, but he could use a few more summery shirts. Given that men’s styles change so little from season to season, I consider anything I purchase for my fiancé to smart investment, rather than a frivolous purchase.
4. Became a Freedom Partner with International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission is a non-profit organization that partners with government organizations in major cities around the world to fight unjust violence against the world’s poorest citizens. IJM’s mission includes rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to some kind of normalcy, and strengthening local justice systems to better protect the weak and poor.
IJM focuses efforts on densely populated cities with poorly managed justice and legal systems where violent crimes are rampant among the poor. These cities include Guatemala City, Guatemala; Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai and Kolkata, India; and Cebu, the Philippines. IJM specializes in defending the victims of slavery, sex trafficking, sexual violence, property grabbing, police abuse of power, and other basic citizenship rights abuses. Although a faith-based organization at its heart, IJM is focused on enacting real, sustainable change in the justice systems of countries around the world – a mission that I think everyone can get behind!
I happened to be at an event several years ago where one of the IJM lawyers spoke. His words and descriptions of the kinds of changes IJM fights for really changed my perspective on my own faith and how I could influence the world around me.
5. Exercised in the Great Outdoors!
Of course, any kind of exercise is good because it improves your health and well being. However, exercising outdoors is much better for the planet than using an electric treadmill in an air conditioned gym. Getting out in the fresh air is also much better for you than breathing in all that stale gym air. If running on pavement hurts your knees, look into dirt trails in your area or go to the local high school track. For the weight lifters out there, tray some calisthenic alternatives. Many newer parks even include specialized outdoor calisthenic equipment (so you don’t have to embarrass yourself on the monkey bars with the little kids).