As this week’s #climatestrike actions are coming to a close, and as dedicated and fierce youth advocates across the globe have raised our planetary consciousness and our will to step into our power to act — now is the time for us to dedicate ourselves to specific changes.

Yes, we need to advocate for large, governmental intervention and accountability AND we have work to do in our own individual lives to change our behaviors for the health of Mother Earth. Here are few suggestions for you to consider how to personally make a difference in this shift we are seeking:

1. STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER — Corporations have turned a free and vital gift from the Earth into a commodity. All of those plastic bottles are killing our planet. Carry your own bottle with you and refill it places. I never leave home without filling my jug of water and taking it with me. Because we have turned water into a consumer good, companies are stealing valuable water resources from indigenous communities so they can sell it to you for profit. All the while, disconnecting us from the spirit of the water that is its own life force of consciousness that sustains and blesses us. Reconfigure your relationship with water to change the way you interact with the whole world. [And tell your Members of Congress that it is outrageous that the people of Flint, MI are still without access to clean water 5 years after the crisis emerged]

2. STOP USING CHEMICALS ON YOUR YARDS & IN HOMES — Round Up and other “weed eaters” are killing our pollinators, butterflies, and birds which are critical to supporting our food supply. Household cleaning chemicals add to the destruction of natural ecosystems. Chemicals are endangering our water supplies. They cause diseases in our bodies. They are not necessary. Use more natural products.  Devote some portion of your yard to allowing things to just grow naturally and support native plants and weeds that give life to the insects, plants, and animals meant to sustain our habitats. Many “weeds” are medicines — dandelion root, plantain, golden rod, etc. Let’s kill the story that all of our yards need to look like golf courses. Embrace nature’s own wisdom to create what she needs!

3. REDUCE OR ELIMINATE YOUR BEEF INTAKE — The rain forest is burning in the Amazon because of corporate interests looking for more grazing lands for cattle. Our nation’s obsession with eating so much meat — particularly beef — causes a huge drain on resources that are destroying the planet. Just ONE POUND of beef requires 2500 GALLONS of water to produce. This is insanity. Eat less meat and you’ll not only gain more energy, but you will also consume fewer of the planet’s precious resources.

There are immeasurable other shifts in behavior that would make a difference — take more public transportation and drive less; put on a sweater and turn your winter thermostat down to 67 instead of 73; buy more food at local farmer’s markets and grow more of your own (advocate for community garden spaces); turn your TV off more often and spend time in nature…the only things that limit our ability to create change are our own limitations we lay down as excuses to why we can’t.

My favorite youth activists for water and climate are Autumn Peltier, Mari Copeny “Little Miss Flint” and Greta Thunberg. If you think you can’t stop buying water, eliminating your use of chemicals, or trimming down your beef intake for the planet, then watch these videos below and listen to these warriors.  If you let their words into your heart, maybe you can find a way to make a small sacrifice that is incredibly meaningful. This is on us all.

With love and hope for our future,