"One action can make a difference on your journey to living a biocentric lifestyle." ~ Stefanie Spear, Founder and CEO, EcoWatch
“One action can make a difference on your journey to living a biocentric lifestyle.”
That’s what EcoWatch Founder and CEO Stefanie Spear told the audience at the Western Cuyahoga Audubon membership meeting on December 6, 2016.
In a video interview leading up to that meeting, Stefanie gave an introduction on this topic. This article summarizes that interview and the conversation she had with the audience at our member meeting.
Biocentric vs. humanistic
“A biocentric lifestyle is a journey from a humanistic viewpoint to a biocentric one. I feel that the majority of people over the last many decades are born into a very humanistic viewpoint. They believe that the human species is at the top, and that all other species are nice to look at or know about, but we’re at the top.
That’s just not reality. Reality is that all species are dependent upon each other and that we must live in harmony with nature for long term survival of all species.
My goal and hope is that most people will realize that the human species does not rule and that we have to be conscious of our impact on the earth and be aware of the health of other species for the long term survival of humans.
It’s a journey
I call it a journey because there’s no way that once you become conscious of your impact on the earth, that you can, in one day’s time, implement all the sustainable practices in your life! It’s a journey.
I encourage everyone to start with one item. Such as bring reusable bags to the grocery store. Take one measurable item that you can say, ‘Now, I’m going to stop using plastic bags and just use reusable ones.’
You then realize that that one action makes a difference. And that’s your journey. Once you implement that, you’re likely to say, ‘Hey, that worked. Why not try something else like composting!’ How about if we don’t throw away any compostable waste? And then you implement that, and so on and so on.
Connect with nature
We are fortunate to live in Northeast Ohio where we have the Emerald Necklace and so many other natural areas. I’m a huge believer in getting people outdoors and on the waterways.
I feel that in order to protect nature, you have to recreate in it. By ‘recreating in it,’ you realize the value that it brings to our lives and to the health of our planet. Connecting to nature is definitely the first step in caring for the planet.
Everyone should get educated about policy issues, communicate them, and engage with organizations that have the same mission and vision as you do. Right now, there’s probably nothing more important than educating yourself on the most important environmental issues impacting human health and the environment, and communicating them to others.”
Audience participation - a new model
Under Stefanie’s leadership, the audience at the December 6, 2016 Western Cuyahoga Audubon membership meeting generated lifestyle ideas at a local level. The conversation covered a host of different topics related to the biocentric lifestyle.
In response to Stefanie’s question about how many people eat a meatless or semi-meatless diet, many people said they eat less meat because factory farming generates methane gas. Others eat little chicken, eggs, or no dairy. “Meatless Monday” was popular among the audience. Another person has converted to a vegetarian diet to diminish gout symptoms.
Compost was the subject of a lively discussion. Most people said they compost at home. One person advised everyone to turn their compost piles regularly for good decomposition. Another warned that food scraps that go into the garbage end up in landfills and increase the release of methane gas.
The dangers of chemicals
Another popular topic was the use of chemicals in our lives and around our homes. Stefanie noted that we have become desensitized to chemicals, which have a major impact on our bodies. Further, chemical runoff ends up in Lake Erie - our source of drinking water.
Most people in the meeting said they do not use pesticides around their homes. One noted that using biodegradable products can help us to be carbon-neutral because they degrade in one to two days. Also, keeping large trees on our properties and elsewhere helps to manage carbon dioxide, a component of harmful greenhouse gases.
Debating climate change
Stefanie pointed out that most scientists agree that climate change exists and we are causing it, while many government officials deny it. Still, she notes, there a lots of things we can do about it. In addition to the biocentric initiatives that people at the meeting noted they have already taken, we discussed how we can engage in the climate change debate.
Stefanie also noted that holidays are a good time to talk to friends and relatives about climate change. I tried this out myself at a Christmas party I attended with a group of relatives.
At the party, I approached a woman who was sitting by herself and not engaging with anyone. I asked her what she was doing these days. She said, “I’m not supposed to talk about it in public.” Suspecting what she was implying, I said, “You’re safe with me.” She opened up and confided that she is an anti-Trump resistance fighter. I joined her movement!
One attendee at the Western Cuyahoga Audubon meeting said that a burning issue in the climate change debate is the fate of Ohio’s renewable energy standard.
What can you do?
Stefanie Spear encouraged us to track bills related to climate change when our elected officials are debating and let them know how we feel about them by contacting our representative and signing campaign petitions advocating for positive change.
Add Your Signature: Petitioning Ohio Governor Bring Clean Energy Back To Ohio!
Tom Romito is President Emeritus of Western Cuyahoga Audubon serving from 2003-2014. During that time, he planned and organized a five-year breeding bird survey in the Rocky River (East Branch) that involved 100 WCAS members and friends. Through this survey, WCAS provided Cleveland Metroparks with data it is using to bolster grant proposals to preserve private land in the Rocky River watershed. Still a board member, Tom is also a facilitator and helps organization that want to grow. He is passionate about climate change, the healing art of reiki, Native American culture, and birding. Read More