I led a pretty vain, self-indulgent life until I was in my mid-thirties. I’m not proud of it. Now I’m striving to be a part of healing the damage we have done to our planet, and a part of preventing further damage. My priorities have changed. As I grow older and, hopefully, wiser I am becoming less selfish and more eager to help with solutions to environmental problems.
I was surprised to discover I can help and still be self-indulgent, because helping preserve our earth turns out to be a hell of a lot of fun. There’s a lot to do close to home. I join in weekend creek and beach cleanups whenever I can. They start frightfully early, and I’m not much of an early riser when I don’t have to be. But getting up early for a cleanup is worth it when we’re done and I see the natural beauty shining through, trash and litter gone, and the habitat safer with the removal of plastic bags and six-pack rings that kill so many water fowl. Not only that, the people at the cleanups are a lot of fun and I’ve made a few new friends.
I’ve also lost weight doing the habitat cleanups. And I’ve been shopping with cloth bags for a long time and believe I’ve lost weight traipsing back to my car to get them when I discover, usually when I’m in the check-out line, that I absent-mindedly left them in my car.
I’m conscious of doing things that make my footprint smaller upon the earth. We hooked up a water-saving “Navy” showerhead, and always buy green household products. I take light-rail now whenever I can, even when it’s more convenient to drive. As a result I do a lot more meditating and reading, which I’m a big fan of, and I’m more relaxed. Instead of saving money washing my car at home, I take it to the car wash, where they recycle and keep harmful chemicals out of the storm drains and thus out of our of creeks and the bay. It costs money, a drawback, but on the other hand I can catch up on email and phone calls—and more reading, while I’m waiting. I recycle religiously, down to buying used books from Amazon.
These are just a few things I’ve been doing differently from how I lived during my misspent youth. The satisfaction I get from helping heal the earth cancels out any sacrifice involved in changing my lifestyle. Helping save the planet is its own reward. I do have to admit though, that I like the way I look since I’ve lost weight. I have changed in a lot of ways but my vanity is healthy and intact. It still loves to be stroked. One more reason why habitat cleanups rock.