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home : life : business & finance September 15, 2014

6/27/2013 5:42:00 PM
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By LeeAnn Barton


The 3 R's of the 21st Century are Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I've touched on these subjects in the past, but would like to reinforce these 3 R's with the 3 R's of pioneer schoolmarms-Reading, Riting and Rithmatic. If we do the reading, thereby increasing our knowledge of how "green" stands up to scientific study; if we do the rithmatic, looking at the bottom line of the bigger picture of sustaining life; then we can do our part to righting what is detrimental to our and our children's future.

Reduce. Reduce our dependency on oil (foreign or domestic), reduce the national debt, reduce taxes, Reduce, reduce, reduce! So many things that trouble America and the world are beyond our control or even our scope of influence. Shouldering the burden of goals of these sizes leads me to futile thinking and surrender to the status quo.Yet doing the math we know that one plus one equals two; two plus two, four and before long one changed habit can multiply exponentially-for better or worse. What small changes in your life can ultimately affect your world in a positive manner? Read on.

Reduce fast food. Reining in the habit of fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner holds many positive outcomes. You will probably find your sodium intake lower which will in turn lower your blood pressure. Fewer calories will be ingested on a whim or in your car (a place proven to contribute to overeating). Reducing the number of visits through a drive-thru window by half (for starters) will decrease paper and plastic waste, reduce calories and add to your pocket money by eliminating mindless spending.

Reducing electrical and water usage is often an extension of thriftiness in the home. Occasionally we are too close to recognize where our habits could easily be adjusted. Ask a "green" friend to discuss areas where reducing would be significant and painless. I've slept in homes that have no less than five nightlights on overnight, in addition to illumination from digital clocks on the bedstand, microwave and cable box. (My question is if this diffused light hinders or helps an intruder!) Watering the lawn or garden is another place professional advice may help reduce your usage, bill and ultimately help your plants.

Speaking of gardens, reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides may do more than restore balance to our rivers, lakes and wetlands. Organic fertilizers actually increase the tilth of the soil over time, thus conserving moisture. Short mown lawns often cut below the blade and into the sheath lessening protection from heat and cold. Reducing the frequency of mowing a lawn will allow each blade of grass the opportunity to participate in photosynthesis!

For your mental and spiritual health, reduce the busyness in your family's day. This will allow you to spend more quality time with those you love. Reduce television time. Fewer appointments does not mean more time to listen to mindless noise. Read to your children or spouse. Engage in "what if" conversations. Television (and video games) reduce creative thinking and physical activities (and in my opinion train our children to be ADD). Standing on the old adage, "Necessity is the mother of invention"...reduce the acceptance of passively watching violence and increase healthful brain exercise to keep your (and your children's) minds fi t. Simple things like word find puzzles, crosswords and Scattagories have been proven to slow the onset of diseases of the mind like Alzheimer's.

Reduce, (not lower) your expectations where others are concerned. You will find you suffer less disappointment while experiencing more compassion, conversation and love. Reduce complaining to gain a thankful heart. Every reduction can be countered by a positive gain.

It is not realistic or necessary for each of us to reduce in every area of our lives. We each know to some extent where our weaknesses lie and where we tend to throw "green" to the wind. But we've got to start somewhere. Let the 3 R's, reading, rithmatic and righting, be a first step to reduce, reuse and recycle. It just may carry us into the 22nd Century.





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