Living a waste-less lifestyle can be a challenge for any individual. It demands time, commitment and effort in our already busy lives. However, these sacrifices are well worth the reward of creating and modeling a healthy and sustainable future for our children. It brings us back to the foundation of Haudenosaunee culture; respecting and honouring our relationship to each-other and the earth.
The Everlasting Tree School does not limit their efforts to just recycling and composting. The school also works to eliminate waste by buying in bulk, using fresh produce, upcycling and reducing the demand for paper products.
“Our goal is to have as minimal impact as possible on Mother Earth in all that we do. Our long term goal is to be self-sustainable, with zero impact”, said Amy Bomberry from the Everlasting Tree School.
The Everlasting Tree School has made an incredible and concerted effort to ensure our children are aware of their responsibilities to the environment and to the future. Each class practices recycling and composting as a part of their daily classroom duties. As a result the students are very mindful of managing their waste properly and often encourage others to reconsider their options when throwing something into the trash.
During the month of April, I spent sometime working with the Everlasting Tree School and was amazed to see that in a week’s time, the only garbage they accumulated was the dust swept from the floor.
What was even more inspiring was how aware students were of what was being put into the garbage can. I can remember absentmindedly placing a crushed cardboard box into the trash. Almost the instant it dropped, one of the students joyfully shouted, “That can be recycled!” and quickly plucked it from the garbage and placed it in the recycling bin. I was completely awestruck not only by the enthusiasm to recycle, and also by his actions; he was being mindful.
This mindful way of thinking is important and crucial if we hope to reduce our impact on the environment and reclaim who we are as Haudenosaunee. When we consider how our actions impact others or the environment, we are being mindful. And to me this reaffirms our own beliefs of peace, power and a good mind.
It is inspiring to see these students taking the initiative to live a waste-less lifestyle at such a young age. Every day spent with this type of mindset is a step towards a healthier community and a healthier planet.