Franciscan Spirit Blog

How to Live Organically

When my grandfather helped my dad start his first organic garden when I was a child, it never occurred to me he was handing down a principle of organic living. Now my brother and sister-in-law have organic gardens.

Organic or sustainable living touches every aspect of our lives: transportation, energy, community gardens, and patronizing restaurants and businesses that use locally grown food. It is part of a holistic lifestyle that goes beyond our personal wellness and to the well-being of the environment. Respect for our planet is very Franciscan. So what can you do?

Limit Your Carbon Footprint

Make choices that are environmentally conscious. Walk, take public transportation, ride a bike, carpool, or consolidate your errands to reduce multiple trips in the car. When shopping for a new car, consider a used, fuel-efficient model. Think about downsizing the number of cars in a household, sharing rides, and taking public transportation.

Eat Local and Organic

Eating local, organically grown food is healthy and beneficial for the environment. Locally grown food requires less miles to transport. It also supports local farmers and businesses. Eating organically reduces our intake of harmful pesticides. Start your own organic garden. If you don’t have space, grow veggies and herbs in window boxes, pots, or hanging baskets.

Start in the Home

Increase your awareness of the chemical content in products you buy. Become a label reader: cleaning products, toiletries, beauty products, food. Even fabrics can be produced using plants that were once treated with pesticides. Look for “certified organic” or the organic certifier’s logo.

Simple, incremental steps can make a huge difference in your carbon footprint. Turn down your thermostat: every degree above 68 increases fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent. Check doors and windows for leaks, and look into programmable thermostats.

Electronic devices such as computers are usually on standby. Shut them off! Adjust your hot water heater: a drop from 130 to 120 will provide considerable savings. Fix leaking faucets or toilets, turn out lights, use energy-saving bulbs, and choose gas over electric.

Living organically doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside-down. Taking simple steps can make a big impact on your life, the lives of others, and the environment.

Join a Community Garden

  • Ensures food is grown responsibly
  • Saves money on food and transportation
  • Contributes to a cleaner environment
  • Guarantees food is harvested at the peak of freshness
  • Reduces trips to the grocery store
  • Strengthens communities and nurtures relationships

Take Baby Steps

  • Fill a windowsill with your favorite herb plants
  • Visit a local farmer’s market
  • Lower your heat at night to 60 degrees
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Check your local public transportation schedule
  • Consider local errands you can complete by foot or by bike

This first appeared in St. Anthony Messenger magazine. 

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