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March 18, 2017

10 Things You Can Do To Make The World A Better Place

by Anne Paddock

Sometimes the problems in our world seem so overwhelming that we underestimate the power of our ability to make a difference in ourselves (both physically and mentally), the environment, and in the lives of other beings. We all tend to think of ourselves first but life would have little meaning if not for others. So, in the spirit of making the world a better place, consider doing one or all of the following “little” things to make a “big” change in your world:

Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat and dairy: We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us but most people don’t get enough of these super foods every single day.  By consuming less meat and dairy and more fruits and vegetables you not only improve your own health, but you cause less suffering of animals, and less damage to the environment.

Do a random act of kindness:  Homeless people are everywhere. No one wants to stand at a street corner with a sign asking for food, water, or work. Show compassion and give another human being an energy bar, a bottle of water, and/or a few bucks. They may be smoking, drinking, or doing drugs but more than likely they also suffer from mental illness. Instead of giving a winter coat or shoes to Goodwill or The Salvation Army, give your cast-off directly to someone who needs it on the streets or in a soup kitchen.

Drive less, walk or bicycle more, and use mass transit: Most scientists agree that CO2 is damaging our environment and causing global warming so park the car and utilize mass transportation, a bicycle, or your feet. When you are behind the wheel, drive defensively, don’t use your phone, follow traffic laws, be kind by allowing people to cut over, and don’t block intersections (which has a domino effect – remember, everyone wants to get where they are going).

Participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): A CSA is a group of local farmers who provide fresh, high quality produce to community members who purchase a “share” of the farm. Both the farmers and shareholders share in the risks and benefits of the food produced by the farmers. Usually, this entails paying a fee for a portion of the farmer’s harvest. To read more about CSA’s or find a CSA, click here.  Fees vary but generally, a share is for a season (3-4 months) for about 10 pounds of vegetables a week for about $20 a week.

Fly less: By flying less, you can reduce your carbon footprint which is better for the environment (less CO2). Consider trains, buses, subways, a bicycle, your feet, and your car (depending on the mileage).

Donate your time instead of money:  If you don’t want your dollars to go towards overhead and salaries, consider donating your time to a non-profit.

Pick up a 5 pieces of trash everyday:  Trash is all around us – on the grass, sidewalks, and roads despite the abundance of trash receptacles. Pick up 5 pieces of trash a day and watch how beautiful our environment becomes.

Recycle more: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, South Korea, Slovenia, Belgium, and Australia have the highest recycling rates in the world (all more than 40% of waste) while the US, Israel, Japan, Mexico, and Canada recycle less than 40% of their waste.  Bring grocery bags to the store and make a bigger effort to recycle paper, glass, and plastic.

Don’t talk on your phone or text when driving:  Despite billboards, police ticketing, traffic deaths, and public shaming, people refuse to stop talking on the phone and even worse, texting. We see it everyday on the roads in the car that stays at a stoplight even after the light has changed to green, and in moving vehicles on the highway. Rarely is anything so important to warrant your attention from the road so put the phone away or pull over if you must talk or text.

Don’t support companies that make crappy food and drinks:  The healthcare industry is in disarray for a variety of reasons that boil down to our lack of good health. The US spends nearly $9,000 per person (the highest in the world) and yet the finger-pointing is always in the direction of the insurers, the doctors, and the pharmaceutical companies. Instead of ragging on insurers who have bailed on markets because the population is too sick, doctors who want to make a living, and pharmaceutical companies who want to sell drugs, why aren’t we ragging on ourselves for eating too much crappy food filled with sugar, sodium, fat and additives, fast food, sugary sodas and drinks? There are lots of things we all can do to improve our health, starting with not supporting companies that produce and sell crappy food and drinks.

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