Everyone has their place and an impact in this world...
"We must cherish this planet that provides the foundation for us to live, and treasure the natural environment. The survival of our own and future generations depends on this."
~ The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa
Extract from Prayers for the Pandemic to Subside, Day 6, Chants the Aspiration for Rebirth in Sukhavati
Lara started volunteering at Kagyu Samye Dzong at the beginning of the year. During her time here she has helped further develop the sustainability practices of the centre. Below she comments on her own personal environmental journey, as well as tips on how we can become more environmentally friendly and aware.
My sustainability journey started when I was in Cape Town. I lived with a friend who was very environmentally conscious. She pointed out a few things that I didn't know I was doing. There was also a drought in Cape Town at that time and that made me realise how precious resources are, how much waste we produce and how we overuse water, electricity and food.
We find it very hard to change the way we live. Sometimes we can think there is so much information and so much we can do; so we don’t do anything. But its a gradual process and a personal journey, and I think you have to start with working on only one thing.
For instance, first you can start with organic waste. It's so important to try and not send this to land fills because this produces very harmful gasses into our environment. Its also a very easy type of waste to reuse, especially if you have access to a garden or an allotment, you just make compost out of it, or dig it into the soil. Even here we have a small allotment and we put organic waste into a compost bin and it makes beautiful compost.
Maybe you can focus on how much water you use, the difference between a two minute to a ten minute shower, bath or a shower, running taps for not reason, and then try to change habits there.
Most people aren’t suggesting going completely vegan or vegetarian, they are saying reduce your meat intake. Slowly and surely you become creative in the ways that you make meatless meals, and you realise different ways you can use vegetables.
[Promo: Keep an eye on future posts for Tom's delicious humous tahini sauce recipe!]
What have you been busy with in Kagyu Samye Dzong London?
The centre already had so many sustainable practices in place, but here are a few other tips that we have implemented:
1. Everyone talks about how vinegar is such a versatile ingredient. Well, it is also a great cleaning product. However, a lot of people struggle with the smell; they say it is too strong. So what I did was collected any citrus peels and infused the vinegar with the peels so the smell wasn’t as strong.
2. You can also use Castile soap, which is also super versatile, from a cleaning to shampoo. Its natural and you just dilute it with some water and add whatever you want to it. We had a lavender scented one and it was very nice and very easy to clean. We had a big kitchen clean and used that. For the environment and personal health it is good to not be breathing in fumes from different chemicals.
3. We started using luffa sponges which is a plant in the cucumber family that you can just use as a scrubber for your washing up and its really good and goes a long way. When they are no longer useable then they can go into the organic waste because they are natural.
We contacted Southward Council to become more aware of the recycling practices that they do and they sent me to Veolia which is a massive recycling company that is doing such a great job. They sent us a lot of information about what can be recycled and what can not, as well as signs to clarify these, and so we have implemented those and more in the centre. It was really nice to build a personal relationship with a contact there.
One thing that we were super excited for was Earth day. We were planning a big event, and quite a few people were involved. Unfortunately, because of the virus we weren't able to have the event. Instead, what we decided to do was rather have an earth week with a theme for everyday that raised awareness about a different topic:
I think people also think, "Oh I am just one person, therefore I am not going to make much change.” But if everyone makes a little bit of change then the whole world will change; everyone has their place and an impact in this world.
[Last promo! Keep an eye out for a future blog post on how to make vegan wax wraps!]