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Helping the Earth Heal – 4 Ways Individuals Can Make a Difference

Planet Earth has an amazing ability to heal. Once environmental stressors are removed, natural cleansing processes kick in to correct imbalances and restore its health. Below are 4 things beyond the standard “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” paradigm that you can do as an individual to help Earth heal.

Upcycling

This goes beyond reusing cardboard toilet paper tubes to organize your drawers. Upcycling is the idea that you can take something that is no longer useful and give it new life and purpose. It keeps useable items out of the landfill and conserves the energy otherwise needed for a newly manufactured item. With some creative vision, paint and elbow grease, an ornate mirror that would cost a fortune to repair can become a bulletin board. An abandoned file cabinet can become a toy box. If you’re not the creative type, upcycling boutiques have sprung up virtually everywhere.

Constructed Wetlands

You can clean the water your home uses and make it safe for the environment without chemical treatments. This idea uses plants’ natural abilities to clean water and neutralize toxins and puts them to work on a larger scale. Some areas where septic tanks are ineffective have incorporated this repurposed NASA technology to treat residential wastewater. Others have used it as a way to treat their home’s gray water and beautify their landscaping. Lots of DIY constructed wetland plans already exist.

Big Thinking

Think one person can’t make a difference? Aaron Feuerstein invented polar fleece, a lightweight wool alternative made from recycled water and soda bottles. Feuerstein refused to patent his invention so everyone could benefit from its use. Millions of plastic bottles have never made it into a landfill because of his work, and the people of the world have soft warm, inexpensive material to protect themselves from the cold. Get a degree in engineering and learn new ways to incorporate recycled materials into new areas of manufacturing.  Saving the Earth can be done if we use our minds to think of new and innovative ways to reuse materials.

The Power of Your Purse

The most effective way you can help the earth heal is to spend your money on environmentally responsible items. Buy products made from recycled materials and from companies that recycle. Choose durable products instead of disposable ones.

Each of us working together has the power to effect positive change for the environment. Whether you choose to be an innovator or one who influences outcomes in subtler ways, you can help the Earth heal.

Rachelle Wilber, the author of this article, is a freelance writer from San Diego, California

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