What It Means To Be Socially Conscious

What It Means To Be Socially Conscious

In today’s hectic world, it is hard to be socially conscious. Those elements that socially conscious individuals want to focus on (family, community and work) must now fight for attention with a wider social vista that includes a teetering national (and international) economy, persistent joblessness (and homelessness) and the sorts of environmental “tipping points” that climate scientists worry may change the Earth’s total biome, possibly in a very short span of time, and not for the better.

For example, the Greenland ice sheet is melting, and in July reached its lowest point in thirty years. Of course, this ice sheet melts every summer. What doesn’t happen every summer, though, is a precipitous melt, from a comfortable 40 percent to an alarming 97 percent, and all in a matter of four days!

If social consciousness is defined as being aware of everything that occurs around oneself at both a local and global level, then socially conscious individuals have an uphill climb. There is so much going on, it becomes difficult to practice the sort of necessary emotional, financial and socially conscious behaviors without descending into panic or paranoia.

Sometimes, we need to step back and assess our lives. It is possible to do almost all the right things for our community and our environment without spending a lot of time, tears and/or money. It is, as my father used to say, better to work smart than hard.

You can, for example, make or buy a composter, so that certain types of leftover food go to building plant-friendly dirt rather than into overburdened landfills. Priced from a very affordable $24.50 for 20 bags designed to melt your leaves and leftovers to rich soil, to the Cadillac of composting – an earth tea brewer which uses trash and water to create a liquid fertilizer.

Or you can tackle one of the most pressing problems to the environment; the need to burn dirty coal to create electricity. Bypass the power company and install energy-efficient, LED solar lights along walks, around a patio or on a deck, or as a solar spot adjacent to the front and back doors.

Put the same amount of shopping energy into water conservation systems for your yard and garden. Start simple with 50-gallon barrels and place one under the end of each gutter downspout (you will have to shorten the spout, but that’s a good thing!). Add a recycled plastic garden hose, and graduate to a rain water filter for your rain barrel. Once you’ve got that going, consider building a raingarden.

Then bring the green inside by choosing non-toxic household insect repellants that aren’t repellant simply because they smell yucky! These low-VOC (volatile organic compound) insecticides kill everything from roaches to fleas. Some even avoid the use of chemicals altogether, relying instead on ultrasonic waves to make bugs decamp from your home in disgust. Now you’re getting the hang of it!

Enzymes Complete Cleaning Kit

Enzymes Complete Cleaning Kit

It isn’t necessary to go green overnight. Take baby steps, but take them often. When you’re in the middle of some project or chore (bathing your dog, for example, or the baby, but hopefully not at the same time!), think how you could make the process more environmentally friendly. Can you use less water in a smaller vessel – a sink instead of the bathtub? Can you use soap that won’t ultimately pollute water supplies, including groundwater? Are the clothes you dress your baby in made of sustainable cotton or other organic fabric? Are the towels you use to dry baby and dog equally ecofriendly, and made from fair-trade cotton?

Lastly, please make it a habit to buy earth-friendly cleaning agents. If you wonder why, take your store-bought bottle of all-purpose cleaner and read the ingredients. More than ten, or with ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, these “dirty” cleaners may or may not clean your home today, but many are certain to affect your family’s health forever.

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