Tag Archives: be good

Day 82: What if today was your last day?

(Disclaimer: I am in perfect health. I was asked this question by a friend when we were talking about anxiety and how we always make plans for the future, but not always ‘live’  in the present. )

What if today was your last day on Earth?

Are you happy with the way you led your life up to now?

Were you a good person? Did you value what was important? Did you make good decisions with what you had available?

Did you put off “being good” to the future, for when you had more time, money, or experience?

What did you leave behind? Destruction and contempt – or love and growth?

How will people remember you? As someone who complained, chased down their dreams at the expense of others, never had time to think about “love” or “Earth” or what is “good” – or someone that always had a helping hand and heart, and built something that helps people on their own path, or made the world a little better place?

Will you have made the world a better place when you leave the world? Most of us would answer yes, right?

But would that answer change if you were leaving the world today?

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So many good things in this photograph by Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, NASA: The Milky Way, the view of it from space, and a lightning strike on Earth. Check out: https://images.nasa.gov/#/details-iss044e045215.html

I’m still a student, so most of my daydreams feature myself getting my dream job, my dream house, kids, and a sense of having a purpose in life. I can’t wait to gradaute and “start living life”. Little did I know how much I was putting off “living life” until someone asked me: Yeah, but what if you died today? What then?

My answer scared me. I’m so busy wishing and wanting things for the future – that I’m not too concerned about what I’m doing now. 

A lot of us – maybe most of us – put important things off to the future. I’m not talking about buying stuff or having things – I’m talking about having the chance to be a better person, a world citizen, and someone who’s interested in saving the Earth. Who never thought “Yeah, eating less meat sounds great, but I’ll do it in the future when I have more time or money” or “I can’t deal with being a more active citizen now, I have work to do!”.  We don’t live each day as if it were an opportunity to do our very best. We don’t use all the time we could to be useful citizens and construct meaningful, lasting relationships. We’re mostly worried with material matters – and that’s mostly ok, because we need material things – but we leave the most important out of our minds because we’re so busy worrying.

I’m a student, so I’m working and studying most of my time. I don’t have that many resources or time, which are usually the two things one needs to do “something big”. But maybe I don’t need to do “something big” to make my existence worthwhile, and I don’t need to wait until I have my dream job, house, or family to do it, either. If I used every opportunity of every single day to be good, whether it was at school, at my temporary job, or with my friends and family, I’d be making a whole lot of difference that I’d like to see. On top of that, if I spent all the extra time and resources I had, even something small like ten minutes a day or a dollar a week on doing something for the Earth – I think I would feel very accomplished and satisfied with the way I was leading my life.

When it comes to action, we need to focus more on the present. It’s not your future actions that count – it’s what you do now, with what you already have. Are you spending too much time worrying about things that don’t really matter? How can you focus more on living your life today?

One strategy is to draw a picture of your brain and make bubbles in it that represent what you usually think about. The bigger the bubble, the more you think about it.

Then, draw another picture of your brain and draw the bubbles with the sizes you would like to have in them.

Next, make that second picture a reality – start thinking more about the bubbles you would like to be bigger, and pay less attention to the bubbles you want to be smaller. Changing the way you think is the first step to changing the way you act.

I made Earth-saving one of the bigger bubbles in my brain drawing. How about you?

“A man is what a man thinks about all day long.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Day 59: 10 good (and ecological!) deeds

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A crowd of smiling faces in Ivory Coast. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Doing a good deed for someone always results in more goodness in the world. You can’t fight evil by putting more evil into the world, right? Doing random acts of kindness not only is good for you (what comes around, goes around) but it is good for humanity. Every time you choose to be nice, you’re putting a little more awesomeness into the world.

Now imagine you do something good that is also ecological! How awesome is that?! Not only are you doing your share to leave less of an impact on the planet, you’re helping someone get there, too – and reducing the impact of that person on the planet. I can’t even count how much “good” you get out of helping someone be a better human on Earth – it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Not only are you being environmentally friendly, you’re actually doing more than your share. Pretty cool, huh?

If you want bonus points on being an Earth-savior, check out my tips below.

  1. Cook a vegetarian meal for someone. Often people don’t have time or mind-energy to think about adopting a greener lifestyle, like taking meat out of their diets. By cooking them a vegetarian meal, you’re 1) showing them that it’s possible and tasty 2) filling someone’s belly with veggies instead of meat – that’s a win for the planet! 3) actually being nice to them by saving time and resources 4) showing them some love.
  2. Sort someone else’s trash and make recycling easier for them. This could even be done at work.
  3. Bring palm-oil free cookies to work.
  4. Listen to someone you normally wouldn’t listen to or on ideas you normally wouldn’t listen about. So much good comes out of listening – people feel appreciated, cared for, loved, and they will be more open to your ideas (ecological ones included).
  5. Forgive your roommates for stealing your soap. Letting go of anger instead of exploding is also an act of kindness that makes you a better person in their eyes. (They will also be more likely to listen when you gently ask them to not leave the water running.)
  6. Let people borrow your tools/sharpies/books/camera/stuff. The more you lend, the less people have to buy new stuff, which isn’t good for consumerism.
  7. Pick up random trash on the street/beach. I’ve seen countless people take on a beach challenge (picking up all the micro trash within a radius of their beach spot) or street challenge (picking up all the trash on their daily walks/commutes). It makes the environment cleaner, nicer, and less likely to be a death-trap for animals. Don’t leave it just because you think the trash guy is responsible for picking it up!
  8. Do someone’s dishes for them – especially for that person that loves to leave the faucet running. Do it for the environment!
  9. Give someone a ride, or car share!
  10. Offer to run an errand for someone, knowing that you could do it with less carbon dioxide (going by foot to do grocery shopping for your eldery neighbor , picking up something on the way home for your friend, mailing a letter for your family member that would rather use a car instead).

Like these? Have more? Share your ideas, I’d love to hear them! Kindness is what makes the world go round.

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Day 57: Treasure what you have

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Earth Observation taken during a night pass by the Expedition 40 crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Source: Reid Wiseman/NASA

A lot of the “save-the-world” messages have this mantra in common: treasure what you already have. Consume less. Use your own local resources instead of traveling. Teach kids to love their backyard and the Earth. Play outside.  These messages all encourage loving what you already have and making that love last.

Today, when I received news of a car accident that injured a fellow Earth-savior who I hold in high esteem, I felt this message from a different, darker point of view: treasure what you have now, before it’s too late.

In the case of the Earth, you are the one that determines “when” or “how fast” it will be “too late” to treasure the Earth. You’re an active participant in the Earth’s demise – or it’s survival. What you do now will affect the future.

Are you part of the population that is contributing to climate change – rising seas, disappearing land, forests, global warming, mass extinctions?

Or are you part of the population that is trying to change that situation? Are you making the world a better place?

Do you wake up every day and do your very best, because you know your days and your time is precious? Do you treat every moment as a chance to do the right thing, or do you ‘take a break’ from saving the world?

I know we all are far from living our lives to the fullest. But you can put your day – this day, this moment – to its best possible use by reminding yourself that you only have a limited time on Earth. And you want to leave the best possible legacy that you can.

True Earth- saviors never take breaks. They understand the seriousness of saving the planet. Every day is a chance to educate, adopt more eco-habits, be nice to others, raise your voice to those that are hurting others, and spread Earth-love. Every. Single. Day.

Treasure your time and energy – put them to good use. Treasure your Earth – know that it’s not finite, and it won’t last if we don’t take care of it. Treasure your family, your possessions, your life – they all are gifts.

The Earth needs you. It needs to be treasured, appreciated, and protected from our own actions. Are we getting there yet?

I hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 46: What’s your superpower, and how are you using it to save the world?

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Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

I once met a woman who said that part of her life philosophy was believing that everyone had a superpower. According to her, everyone has a shining attribute that they master and apply positively, whether it be to themselves or to others. She described her own superpower as being able to heal and relax people, by talking and listening to them, and asked me what I thought my superpower was. I had to think about it for a while. Did I really have a superpower that I could use to help others? What about if I thought about the superpowers of the people closest to me – could I more easily identify their superpowers?  Continue reading

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Day 40: Be a superhero!

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The Avengers. Source: Marvel, http://www.comingsoon.net

What makes us admire super heroes so much?

See all these heroes above? (If you don’t know who they are, ask a kid!) They all accepted the mission to protect the world. All of them spend hours after work asking themselves how they can do better – they lose sleep over it. They’re hardworking, persistent, strong, and they all possess certain super powers. They’re not perfect, but they know that and keep trying – and they know their job isn’t finished until the world is better (hint: not in their lifetimes).

Continue reading

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Day 39: What does “sustainable” mean?

People often use the word “sustainable” to describe ecologically friendly actions.  Is using renewable energy sustainable? Sure. Using real forks and knives instead of plastic ones? That too. How about eating food that is in season? Definitely sustainable. These are all great “save-the-world” actions that entertain the notion of sustainability – but they don’t complete it. A sustainable individual, society or planet is  more than just being friendly to the environment. It’s about living a lifestyle that doesn’t harm others.   Continue reading

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Day 35: It’s okay to not be perfect and still try

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Source: https://support.wwf.org.uk/adopt-a-dolphin

One of the children I work with has a sticker chart for good behavior. This week she had a full week of stickers, but lost one due to inappropriate behavior. She then proceeded to panic and lash out, as her caretaker was saying “Hey, it’s okay! It’s just a hiccup!” Continue reading

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