8 Ways to Minimise Your Footprints on the Planet
This week on the mat I’ve been teaching a sequence that focuses heavily on the feet, using this part of the body to move, step, flow and transition from pose to pose, and to tread a little more lightly. The anatomical focus was a tool to encourage my students to use their time on the mat to think about how they can make changes off their mat so as to leave a lighter footprint on the earth.
This ties in with what yogis refer to as Ahimsa, a Sanskrit (ancient Indian) word meaning ‘non-violence’. About 1700 years ago a sage named Patanjali wrote the yoga sutras, a classical yoga text. He refers to the 8 limbs of yoga, a guide to purifying the body and mind with the ultimate goal of achieving a calm and steady mind. In the first limb ‘yamas’ – students are asked to avoid violence (ahimsa), lying, stealing, wasting energy, and possessiveness.
Non-violence towards others, but also (which we often forget) towards ourselves and our environment. Non-violence in our words and actions, but also our thoughts.
Ahimsa is something I try incorporate into my yoga practice daily - both on and off the mat. To pull back and rest when I need to (hello child’s pose), or to be more compassionate towards an irrational toddler.
Right now in the world although there is a lot of violence, there also seems to be this collective shift to being less violence towards Mother Nature and the planet.
Here are 8 Ways to minimise your footprints on the planet:
1. Reusable Coffee Cups
I’m not an expert on coffee, in fact I’ll let you into a secret…I don’t drink coffee at all. Ever. Never have. I can’t stand the stuff…but this I do know:
More than 1 billion disposable coffee cups are used and discarded every year in Australia
Yes, you read that right. If you’re anything like me, you just went back and re-read it. 1 BILLION. My mind is officially blown.
If you don’t own a reusable coffee cup yet, you need to get one. Like now. Pronto. ASAP. Yesterday. Health and Fitness blogger Training for Chocolate just wrote a super useful article on the 5 best reusable coffee cups which includes links on where to purchase, check it out here:
2. Reusable drinking straws
Plastic straws are one of the most littered items in Australia, making up approximately 40% of beach litter. If you’ve seen the video of the turtle having a straw removed from its head, you’ll know the dangers and impact they have on marine life. (If you haven’t seen it, google it. It’s not pleasant viewing but life is not all rainbows and unicorns.)
According to Upworthy’s #stopsucking video ‘if we don’t act now, there will be more straws in our ocean than fish by 2050’.
I’ve been lucky enough to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, in Tonga, Cyprus and Sydney . I would like my children and grandchildren to be able to do the same and for them to experience the magic of being immersed in an abundant, colourful underwater world full of fish, rather than an ocean full of plastic. We have a responsibility to look after this planet for future generations.
Recently I made the switch to a stainless steel straw and have been turning down plastic straws in cafes. The eco-friendly manager of Hemingsways in Manly decided back in March to make the switch to reusable metal straws. This week I was stoked to read on my favourite café's Instagram, Rough & Bare: ‘All drinks inhouse will now be served with no straws and takeaways will have the option of a paper biodegradable straw. Say NO to single use plastic!’ Businesses are catching on. They are listening. Remember that you are a consumer. Consumers have choice and power.
3. Beeswax Food Wraps
These are a great alternative to cling film and are not just reusable, they also reduce plastic waste. They can be used for wrapping all types of food enabling them to stay fresher and last longer, and for covering bowls of varying sizes when storing food. They’re currently on sale on Nourished Life I may possibly have stocked up on them to use as Christmas presents...don’t hate me. I know it’s only August. I think ahead, I can’t help myself.
4. Reusable Zip Lock Bags
I use these for carrying a never-ending supply of snacks for my toddler (how is it that they spend all morning eating breakfast and before you’ve even left the house they are rummaging in your bag hunting for snacks? Not to mention, “Have you finished your lunch?” “NO! I want snacks’. At this point I silently say to myself ‘WTF, just eat your lunch, child’ and calculate how much it would cost to send her to daycare for an extra day).
I also use zip lock bags for storing my essential oil rollerbottles, otherwise my Cheer touch which I use as perfume ends up rolling around at the bottom of my bag in a delightful dusting of sand and rice cake crumbs. Cheer is an uplifting oil blend, it smells amazing - citrus with a hint of clove, cinnamon and vanilla. Think sunshine and happiness in a bottle! I find it particularly useful on days when snack demands, tantrums and toilet training accidents are all too common. Buy it via www.mydoterra.com/loukelly and get the zip lock bags from Litter Free Living.
5. Reusable Sandwich Bags
Mr Surfside makes his own sandwiches. While we're on this subject, am I mean or do other people actually make their husband’s lunches? The way I see it he gets an entire childfree day at work while I’m running around after a toilet training toddler, cleaning up wee, doing laundry and trying to run two businesses...so I feel like he can make his own lunches. Plus, he managed to make them himself each day for 12 years before we met. Anyway, I digress...
So my husband now goes to work with his sandwiches in a reusable sandwich bag. I’m not sure what the boys on his construction site say, but as he’s the boss they probably don’t say much to his face, but quite a lot behind his back. I know they once asked him if he found it weird that his wife went to work and taught yoga to the Manly Sea Eagles players while wearing tight yoga pants...luckily he knows that I am totes professional, they’re totally not my type and I think he’s the hottest man on the planet. Not sure whether to insert picture of Manly Sea Eagles or husband, so instead go check out the bags on Litter Free Living. They also have great steel lunch boxes and the reusable zip lock bags.
6. Bamboo Toothbrushes
You’re meant to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. I’m sure most of us are not that diligent, but regardless you’re probably looking at least 3 toothbrushes a year. In our household that equates to 9 plastic toothbrushes going into landfill. What a waste!
I’m loving my new bamboo toothbrush not just for its sustainable qualities, but also because it looks so good in the bathroom and ties in nicely with the mirrors and shelves we made out of reclaimed fence panels.
7. TOXIC FREE Cleaning Products & GLASS Containers
We make our own toxic free cleaning products using doTERRA essential oil for a fraction of the price of store bought versions. Free of chemicals they're great for our bodies and environment, plus we cut down on plastic waste by purchasing reusable glass bottles from Aroma Bottles. If you're local, you can even pick up from their HQ in Collaroy.
8. Take 3 pieces of rubbish home with you each time you go to the beach
The Take 3 campaign first came to my attention when Tasha, owner of eco-friendly, sustainable jewellery business Spindrift Collections posted a video of her in action on Insta Stories. If each person takes 3 pieces of rubbish home with them and disposes of them appropriately, our beaches would be far cleaner. Whilst this doesn’t involve switching products, it does involve switching our behaviour.
There are also regular, organised beach clean ups and even underwater cleans up happening on our coastline. Get involved!
I’m working on getting all the above products onto our Surfside Shop which stocks eco-friendly and mindfully selected yoga, beach, lifestyle and health products for on and off the mat. Watch this space.
In the meantime, I feel it’s important to consider that we are connected. As humans we can connect to our own heart, to our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. To each other, our family, tribe and community. To nature - the ocean, sky, stars and animals. To our home, this planet, Mother Earth. When we work together in unison, we are powerful.
Make the switch today. Inspire those around you. Together we are powerful beyond our wildest dreams. Our home, Planet Earth, needs to be protected. It needs each and every one of us to step up. To take responsibility. To be the change.