Thursday, February 7, 2008

Awareness vs. Action

Last year was the year of mindfulness, or awareness if you will. Being mindful of the things around me. People, places, sounds, emotions, myself, pretty much everything. It's amazing what you will see, hear and feel if you just pay attention.

I started this out of a search for something to help me be more in touch with my own physical, emotional and spiritual self. What I ended up with is far more. Being more aware of all that surrounds me. There are a couple of books I'd recommend to anyone who is interested in something of this nature. Both by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The fist is "Wherever You Go, There You Are". The second is "Full Catastrophe Living". I made it through Wherever You Go, but didn't quite have the patience for Full Catastrophe. It's a bit more geared towards really dealing at a deep level of living life with all the junk that it throws at you, ie "The Full Catastrophe".

And as 2008 is now in full swing, I've found myself being all too aware of the amount of consumption that my life is involved in. Everything from my driving habits to the amount of paper towels I'm using after washing my hands. So this year is my year of action. I'm pledging to myself to be more active in reducing my waste and minimizing my impact on Mother Earth.

It's amazing the amount of information that is out there available on this topic. So much so, that it can become overwhelming. I'm trying not to be discouraged by it all. And realizing that even small contributions can have an impact. How many times have you heard "A penny saved, is a penny earned"? Imagine if everyone on the earth didn't flush the toilet once after taking a leak? How many billions of gallons of water would be saved? Ok, yea I know, most people don't have flush toilets, but you get the picture.

Today, I'm starting to try and reduce the amount of paper that comes into my mailbox. I've already been reminding myself to put the junk mail in the recycling. But, I really want to get rid of it all together. No paper wasted and hopefully some minimal impact on the amount of energy it takes to produce and deliver the crap. The Direct Marketing Association has some pretty simple steps that you can follow to reduce the amount of mail coming into your mailbox. They've provided a short list of things you can do. Such as opting out of those annoying "You're Preapproved" offers and how to get your name off of mailing lists all together. So, hopefully I'll start receiving less mail in the near future.

Of course the user experience in removing your name from list really sucks. I'm not really 100% sure what I opted out of. But at least I should receive some reduction in mail in the coming months.

One other thing you can do to reduce the amount of mail, is to sign of for online billing or have your bills directed to your credit card. I think I've got just about everthig either "e-billed" or showing up on my credit card. With any luck I won't be getting any mail at all!!

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