Before moving on to Mission #4, take a moment to reflect on yesterday's mission. How did yesterday's mission shift your ideas about food and your connection to the Earth? It was not difficult to realize how connected we are to the people and places where we shared some of our favorite meals. It is difficult to be mindful of where food comes from. In religious traditions, we thank God for the meal we are about to receive, but what about being intentional about all the helpers that allow that meal to be at our table, when do we really take the time to think about the farmer, the crop picker, the transporting agents from the farm to the market, to our tables. What was it like to offer food to another person with a compassionate intention? The service council at my school created bags with fruit snacks carefully selected to thank our young donors during National Volunteer Week for their help throughout the year. It felt good being the connection between the hands that made the thank you traced hands and the principal who distributed our small token of appreciation through a treat the children told me they really liked How might you bring more mindfulness toward food in your everyday life, and why might this be good for the planet? The intentional actions not only make a person feel good and connected, they also help be more mindful and appreciative. At the end, I hope I will recycle and reuse more as well as pollute less and help clean-up my surroundings more. My choices of what I eat and drink will probably change a bit too, as well as my portions. Report and share your experiences on the Compassion Report Map!
Our fourth mission, Agents, is to be like plants so we can minimize the impact of our energy use on the Earth.
“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson
All energy comes from the stars.
The cleverness and wisdom of plants allow them to absorb the energy of our nearest star, the Sun, turning this directly into food for them to grow. But animals, like us, depend upon these great plants so we can access the energy of the sun to live and grow as well.
When we look around us, we can see that the modern world is totally dependent upon massive amounts of energy to operate. Where does this energy come from? Our electronics, our lights, our heat, our cars, our entire way of life requires the energy of the sun to power them.
The unsustainable energy sources of coal, natural gas, and fossil fuel oil are simply very crude forms of sun-energy that have been left in the Earth and transformed into something more distant than the clean, direct energy of the sun. The great challenge of humanity now is to mimic the plant world and utilize the ever-flowing free, clean energy of the sun to power our lives.
Agents, our mission today is to consider all of the ways we can conserve energy, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while we transition to clean and renewable energy as quickly as possible.
Here are some places to get started and even save money in the process:
Eat local food! Local food uses very little carbon to get from the farm onto your plate! Food grown in other countries must travel thousands of miles to get to your plate.
When something is plugged in, it is still pulling energy from the outlet and ultimately wasting it. When you no longer need your phone charger or other electronics, unplug them from the wall to stop this flow.
If you are going to leave a room for more than 5 minutes, turn off the lights to save energy. During the day whenever possible, open the blinds and curtains to let free, natural light into the room instead! It’s better for your eyes, and will lift your spirit to boost.
Replace wasteful and outdated incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent, halogen or LED lights. These bulbs use just a fraction of the older light bulbs and put out just as much light. You’ll even save money in the long run to recover the costs of buying them, as an LED light can last between 10-17 years without burning out!
Hate traffic? Consider setting up a carpool with friends or coworkers who live nearby to dramatically cut down on energy consumption, alleviate traffic, and even use the carpool lane!
If carpooling isn’t possible, consider taking the bus. It may take a bit longer to get there, but the gained time of not having to drive can be an unexpected gift.
Walk and bike more! Not only are you saving energy, but you are getting the much needed movement your body craves!
Is it cold outside? Before cranking up the heat, consider this: the most efficient way to warm yourself up is by wearing warmer clothes!
Join a solar program or install solar on your house! Over time the cost of installation will be offset by the energy you produce all on your own.
Inspire your friends and family to join you on this mission! Challenge your household to save as much energy as possible as we transition to clean, renewable resources, together!
Agents, remember... As you fulfill your mission, share your experiences on the Compassion Report Map! Your report inspires others, amplifying the power of your compassion and generosity!
Each day during Earth Week, the Compassion Torch will be passed to a different Champion of Compassion. For Day 4 of the Earth Week, we are humbled to pass the Compassion Torch from the People's Climate March to the Pachamama Alliance!
Before moving on to Mission #3, reflect on yesterday's mission. How did it feel to consider how much our lives depended on water, and that our bodies are mostly made of water? As a young teacher with a heavy teaching assignment, I learned not to drink too much water to avoid having to leave my classroom to use the facilities. As I grow older and I read how water is needed for brain functioning, I still cannot break the habit, but I am trying. Was it difficult to be mindful of saving water? Yes, because we are creatures of convenience and the shower habits and being mindful of turning off faucets not to waste water are difficult habits to create Why do you think this is? Guilty How did it feel to appreciate water more fully for its many gifts? Connected in my actions to others and the future Did you feel more connected and present? Somewhat, the question is will this connection become a habit. If you haven't already done so, shares your experiences on the Compassion Report Map to inspire others!
Our third mission, Agents, is to love food by preparing a healthy and nourishing meal for those you love.
“Is there any practice less selfish, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for the people you love?” - Michael Pollan, Cooked
To love our family and friends is to wish for them to have the vital things that make life possible and worthwhile. Food, without a doubt, is life. All living beings require good, healthy food to grow, have strength, and make life worth living. This nourishment grows abundantly from the generous bounty of Mother Earth, and when we take this bounty into ourselves, it becomes our very bodies. Cooking food and sharing a meal together makes us more human. The experience of coming together, around a fire and a good meal, lies deep within our ancestral memories. When we eat a healthy meal that we made ourselves - not only are we connecting with this ancient tradition - we are nourishing ourselves in an act of compassion that extends to those we dearly love.
Agents, our third mission is to love food by making or sharing a healthy meal for someone you care about. If you don’t cook, don’t worry! It isn’t as difficult as it first appears.
Try teaming up with someone who knows how to cook to fulfill this mission.
Think about where your ingredients are coming from, and make an effort to select from the most local and sustainable options if you are able to.
You can even invite many people to cook for each other by having a potluck, and having a discussion about the importance of food, human connection, and our relationship to the Earth.
Every act of eating symbolizes our innate bond to the living world around us. How incredible is that?!
Share your experiences on the Compassion Report Map to inspire others and amplify the power of your compassion for Mother Earth!
Good luck, Agents!
This mission was inspired by award winning author and food activist Michael Pollan. If you have an inkling to deepen your appreciation for food in any way, check out his newest documentary called "Cooked". Watch a meaningful and heart-provoking clip of "Cooked" below.
Each day during Earth Week, the Compassion Torch will be passed to a different Champion of Compassion. For Day 3 of the Earth Week, we are thrilled to pass the Compassion Torch from the Amy Walker to the People's Climate March.