Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Peace Song for 7/24/2011

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is the Royal Song of the Day. Never heard of it? That is because Duchess Susanna made it up today. It is to the tune of “Frere Jacques” aka “Brother John”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4umTWX-1ok]

There are a lot of reasons why thinking environmentally supports peace. If Americans were more careful with our own natural resources, we would have less need for war. Also, living sustainably is a way to show nonviolence towards the earth, and the other people and animals we share the planet with.

The best way to live in a healthy, sustainable, and ecologically wise way is to use less stuff. This strategy is “reduce”. Reducing how much you buy or use means there is less need to create stuff and use up raw materials. Less things get wasted. The next best option is to “reuse” items. And, then, last — but important — is “recycle”. There are so many posters and campaigns about recycling, we sometimes think of it as a cure-all. Though, in fact, recycling is just a small part of the solution.

Think about a plastic bag. The best thing would be, if we shopped so little, that we could carry things in our hands, and we did not need to even use a plastic bag. That is “reduce”. The next best thing is to have one plastic bag, and use it over and over and over again, so that we don’t have to make new ones, and our bag does not go into the landfill for a long time. That is “reuse”. Then, the next best thing is to use a plastic bag once, but at least, when we are finished using it, to give it to someone who can melt it down and use the plastic for another bag, or another useful item. That strategy is “recycle”. We shouldn’t jump to recycling something that can first be reused.

There is a similar principle with energy. Many people get so excited about getting solar energy for their home, that they start counting up how much regular electricity use they can replace with solar. Though, the best way to save money, save the planet, and think ecologically, is to make part of your energy conversion plan include using less electricity (ie: the strategy of “reduce”, reflected in energy use as “conserve”).

One of the items that Duchess Susanna uses the most of is paper towels. One strategy she tries to use with them is to “reduce”, by using a hand towel to dry her hands in the kitchen, instead of a disposable, paper product. Duchess Susanna realized that this idea relates to the first time she thought of herself as royal.

Way back in the 80’s, Duchess Susanna’s grandmother used to crochet tops to kitchen towels, and add a button to hook the towel over the stove. Then, Duchess Susanna’s mother would sell them at craft fairs with the following poem attached:

“Not just for dishes, pots and pans,
I help to dry Milady’s hands.”

Using a dishtowel — instead of a paper product — to wash your hands in the kitchen is a royal way to respect the planet.

Hope you enjoy the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Song. And, maybe you will think about some items you can use less of.

To buy an organic cotton kitchen towel: Go here to Gaiam

Related post: Duchess Catherine (Kate Middleton) and Duchess Susanna reuse their mother-in-laws jewelry

Related video: “The Story of Stuff” at Youtube

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