Photo Credit: Danielle Shirley
The choices we make and the lifestyles we lead can really impact the environment. When adopted and practiced, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle efforts really can make a difference in keeping our planet clean and healthy for everyone to enjoy. Making educated and smart choices can help save our planet even though the impact may seem small. The simple act of recycling adds up, reducing the amount of waste and trash that gets deposited into landfills or going into our rivers and oceans.
You have the power to decide the fate of your garbage, and in doing so you are not alone in thinking how you can best contribute to saving the planet. So, go ahead and take a water bottle with you wherever you go, so that you don’t have to buy bottled water, or choose to set up recycling bins in your home and pass the recycling bug to your family and friends, forming a habit that will become second nature before you know it! Building a green lifestyle and greener community where you choose to walk or take public transportation instead of driving, or using cloth napkins instead of using paper towels, takes practice and patience.
Thinking about the Seventh Generation, an Iroquois perspective, we should lead a sustainable lifestyle, one where choices are made so that resources that come from our earth mother are secured for seven generations from now, or 140 years from now. Preserving our natural resources for the seventh generation may be a new concept to some people, but it is something all mankind should embrace.
Take for example, Emmet Yepa, of Jemez Pueblo. While in high school, he saw a vision and a wonderful opportunity during his community’s annual Feast Day
to help his community adopt recycling practices. Feast Day celebrates harvest bringing the community together for renewal in all aspects of life. Emmet
and other youth approached the tribal council for support in starting a recycling center called the Walatowa Green Stars Recycling Group in 2010. For
his contributions, Emmet met President Obama for recognition as one of eleven Champion of Change.
To help make your recycling goals a reality, finding resources that include advice and financial support from educators at your school, tribal leaders in your community or funding from a non-profit organization such as the Seventh Generation or We R Native, are steps to take in building a greener community. Together, strength in numbers, we can protect, preserve and promote a sustainable lifestyle that serves to protect our planet and our Seventh Generation.
Article written by: Kimberly Yazzie
Many articles in this section were adapted from WeRNative.org, a website for Native Youth by Native Youth