The Earth is an introvert! But society is a loud, noisy extrovert – the type who thinks an introvert is actually just an extrovert with inhibitions.
Society has a similarly taxing effect on both the introvert and the Earth. The truth is, society just drains the life out of both of us on a day-to-day basis. We are both exhausted by it, and when Friday night rolls around, all we really want is some time alone to be still, and to rejuvenate the imbalance of energy we feel.
But this isn’t always easy, especially with society as the noisy neighbour the Earth lives beneath, the one who stomps around like they are late for work at all hours of the day and night.
It’s not that the Earth and the introvert don’t like people or enjoy being social. In fact, we both have an entire network of friends, which has evolved into place over a long period of time – like a delicate ecosystem.
But those energy-stealing extroverts, the ones who talk-yell on their cell phones and honk their horns because go faster, are constantly walking all over us with their heavy footprints.
What’s an Earth-loving introvert to do?
Good news, everyone, there are ways of offsetting these heavy footprints! And the beauty of it is you can offset both the footprint on the Earth, and the one on your introvert self, at the same time. Let’s call it setting two birds free with one stone.
How to Offset the Effects of an Extroverted Society on the Earth and Yourself
- Eat lots of cruciferous green vegetables – organic if you can swing it.
I’m talking lots. The standard Western diet is high in processed carbohydrates, refined sugars, and genetically modified fats – most of which are produced by big corporations with even bigger carbon footprints. These foods pass quickly through our stomachs, then get lumped up in our intestines, which is precisely the opposite of what our body wants.
This has a negative effect on our enteric nervous system, which can quickly drain our mental energy stores. Eating lots of green veggies means food energy is released slowly into our system, but doesn’t hang around all day in your intestines – like that last person who just will not leave your party.
- If possible, bike or walk to work in the morning.
How would you rather arrive to work: energized, fresh, and happy; or tight, twisted, and conflicted? Walking or biking to work lessens the amount of bad energy you use (i.e., fossil fuels + people-all-up-in-your-space energy) and increases the amount of good energy used (i.e., it burns your physical energy + replenishes your mental energy).
Live too far from work to make this practical? Try hopping off transit or parking your car a distance away (even a 5-minute walk is better than none).
- Don’t buy takeout coffee everyday.
Spend a little extra to buy good quality, fair trade coffee beans, like Kicking Horse, and invest in a travel mug that you actually love, like this one from Mountain Equipment. Not only will you be reducing so much waste (most coffee cups are not actually recyclable) the caffeine in better-quality coffee has less of a sketchy side effect and will be less likely to heighten your sensitivity and lessen your ability to put up with people and their people-ness.
- Avoid insulin spikes throughout the day.
Growing evidence is showing that insulin spikes are not only bad for our bods, they also have a profound effect on our minds. What causes insulin spikes? Highly processed carbohydrates and refined sugars (made by those big, bad corporations).
Note that some kinds of fruit and (especially) fruit juice can cause insulin spikes. The best fruits to eat to avoid insulin spikes and carbon footprints are locally grown apples and pears.
- 1, 2, or 3 days a week, cut meat out of your meal.
Meat production is one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions. Fart. This sucks, especially if you don’t feel satisfied from a meal unless it has meat.
But why not give it a try? Take this opportunity to make number 1 on the list (eating green veggies) a priority, and remember that the macronutrient that makes us feel the most full, and the most satiated, is not protein: it’s fat. Make a big, huge salad with nuts or legumes and a heavy dose of healthy salad dressing.
Trust me, you’ll be full.
- Carry something un-electric with you that helps to turn your mind turn off.
A book of cat pictures, a crossword puzzle, a healthy snack, a Sudoku. Having it with you means you can take the opportunity to preserve some of your mental energy and some of the Earth’s energy by turning off at some point during your day.
Even more important is the knowledge that you have this item with you – that, in itself, is calming.
- Try outdoor high-intensity exercise.
Take a break from the bright, busy, loud space of the gym and try some high-intensity exercise in the carbon-neutral park. While gyms are essential if you’re into fitness, the fact that they are designed to emulate a busy nightclub, sans the alcohol, can be exhausting.
Getting outdoors, connecting with the Earth, and doing some Tabata sprints is a great way to get that surge of calming hormones after high-intensity exercise.
While these certainly aren’t cures for the footprints society is leaving on the Earth and our selves, every little thing you can do helps out – even if it’s only a small amount. And something happens, too, when you start thinking about the Earth and connecting to it more – things become clearer. Being a part of society has a way of clouding things over; you start to forget what truly matters.
But the Earth has your back, so literally stop for a moment and take a big, long cleansing breath of those flowers.