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Earth Day Challenge

This earth day I challenge you to be truly uncomfortable.

Are our comforts sustainably comfortable? The quick answer is, NO. Our comforts are destroying our ecosystem while weakening us to our environment. We are fortunate to live in a time when we have many modern conveniences. But just like with all things, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Bad for the environment, ourselves, and our fellow earthlings. I challenge you to be truly uncomfortable in 9 ways.

1. Go without air conditioning. When people learn that we live without air conditioning in our household they’re usually shocked and can’t imagine how they could ever live without it (I’m not exaggerating). It’s very possible for most people to live without air conditioning. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, air-conditioning accounts for nearly a fifth of annual U.S. residential electricity use. This is more energy for cooling overall, per household, than in any other nation. That’s a big energy usage dent from Americans. And it’s not doing us any favors. Exposure to constant air-conditioning can prevent our bodies from acclimating to hot weather, so those who subject themselves to air-conditioning  are in turn making themselves more vulnerable to heat-related illness. It also causes dry eyes, dry skin, dehydration, it can worsen asthma and allergies. The list goes on and on. 

2. On the flip side turn your thermostat down in the winter. Wear sweaters, blankets, socks, slippers, lots of layers. If you are someone who likes to crank up the air conditioning, now is the time to enjoy that temperature. You all know me. I hate the cold. But I hate the effects heating a house has on the planet even more, plus the financial burden. And just like air conditioning weakens us to our environment, so does heating the house up more than necessary.

3. Take colder showers (below 70 degrees) or just straight cold showers, or even just end your showers on cold for a minute or two (Thanks for this one Vikram!). The longer you endure cold over hot the better for Mother Earth. The basic right of our root chakra is “How we treat the world is how we treat ourselves”. Cold showers are a great way to heal and recover from a good workout. They improve circulation by pushing it into survival mode which increases blood flow circulation. This is a very interesting study from the national library of medicine, Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body

4. Use less water. We’re running out of it thanks to pollution and rising temperatures. Taking cold showers always makes me move much, much, much faster. It’s amazing how fast I can do everything I need to in a fraction of the time it takes in a warm shower. Shut the water off while washing hands and dishes. Run full loads of laundry. Resolve any dripping, leaking faucets. Wash our cars less. Let’s observe how we use water and make changes to be more conservative. Coca-Cola is a major part of our water issues. I urge everyone to stop using their products. Which brings me to the next challenge.

5. Avoid using single use plastics such as utensils, cups, bottles, bags (shopping, sandwich bags, ect), straws. It’s terrible for the environment. Ditching Coca-cola is a great way to start using less plastic because it is the largest contributor to our planet's plastic pollution issue, among other huge issues. 40% of the world's  plastic demand comes from Coca-Cola. If you have a moment this article goes into detail as to why Coca-Cola is the devil. 

-There are only reasons to eliminate supporting this company. I couldn’t come up with one reason why it would be a good company or product to support. 

That first round of challenges were more earth-centric. This next group will directly benefit you:

6. Fast often. Fasting isn’t for everyone but many of us would greatly benefit from fasting. The most obvious benefit is that it cuts calories. Fewer calorie intake boosts our metabolism. It prevents spikes and crashes in our blood sugar levels, decreases inflammation, boosts brain function along with many other benefits. Fasting should always be supported with a healthy lifestyle. There are many different ways to fast. I personally fast (or forget to eat) for 16 hours most weekdays. 

7. Only eat foods that provide nourishment. Comfort foods usually are not nourishing which is kind of weird if you think about it. When we want comfort foods, we want some kind of ease or support. Eating foods that aren’t nourishing in these moments has the opposite effect we are looking for. We don’t need to poison ourselves in the name of comfort. 

-The word comfort means a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. Typically we want comfort foods when we’re sad, over-tired and/or stressed. These things can’t be comforted with food. 

 -Food means something eaten that provides nutritional support. 

Eating empty calories that cause disease, even once in a while, is not an effective way to nourish the discomfort. “Treating ourselves” is a special opportunity to nourish ourselves a little (or a lot) more than usual. Not to inflict harm onto ourselves a little (or a lot) more.  

8. Sit with anxiety, anger, sadness and let it pass through rather than avoid or piling on coping mechanisms which can be another way to avoid. Take a few deep breaths and remember these feelings are temporary. When we avoid it, we teach ourselves that it’s an experience to be afraid of. This is a terrible feedback loop to get wrapped up in. Reflect without ruminating. Sometimes we get stuck on the problem instead of thinking about the solution or we get stuck on the fact that there might not be a solution right now.

9. Be in physical pain. I know it sucks but it plays a very important role in our lives, it’s  our teacher. We are a society that is quick to run to the medicine cabinet. When we medicate pain and discomfort we become less able to tolerate pain and discomfort. When we mute our pain and discomfort we won’t be able (or won’t have the desire) to find and resolve the source issue. Pain is telling us that something is wrong and how wrong it is. We need to listen in. When it comes to resolving pain, knowledge is power. We want to learn all the lessons pain is trying to teach us. Of course check with a doctor if you have concerns about your pain situation resolving.

Here is a quick list of challenges you won’t get a t-shirt for but they are good for the environment and will help to make you more resilient.

  1. Go without air conditioning

  2. Turn down the heat

  3. Take cold showers 

  4. Use less water

  5. Avoid single serving plastics

  6. Fast often

  7. Eat in a nourishing way 

  8. Feel your feelings 

  9. Be in physical pain

Let’s be a part of our environment. Live as close to our environment's temperature as possible. Be conservative with hot water and water usage. Avoid single serving plastics, and if you love Coca-Cola let’s keep in perspective that it’s a one sided relationship because in return Coca-Cola is trying to kill you and as many of earth's inhabitants as possible. Fast regularly and only eat nutrient dense foods. Let’s give our feelings validation and let them run their course. And allow ourselves to experience pain when it arises because it is a part of our experience for a reason.  

Happy Earth Day!


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