• Lizzie Shutt

Cultivating Conscious Global Culture

*This post was originally published on Concordia Language Villages blog* Check my post out!

Cultures are like plants. Each is unique in many ways, including its daily practices, entertainment and cuisine, yet all need sunlight and water to grow. Individually we can grow and compete for resources, but globally we are an ecosystem. It is not enough for just one country to act cohesively with nature. I believe to truly solve global issues (health, environment, relationships, poverty) each organism must participate. 

Humans and ecosystems function in much the same manner. When an ecosystem falls out of balance, it retains all that’s necessary within its system to regain homeostasis. I believe that as human beings within the environment, we are capable of healing ourselves without the extensive use of outside resources, even though pharmaceutical and beauty marketing tells us otherwise. 

Time stands still, joy fills the air, and my connection with nature heightens when I’m riding waves. While traveling the world I always find surfing with locals the best way to meet cool people and learn about the area. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

I have spent a lot of time exploring and observing nature on both the macro and micro levels, immersing myself while traveling to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Tanzania, Spain, California and even my own backyard in South Florida. Combining my university studies in Horticultural Science with my fascination for nutrition and human performance has resulted in numerous epiphanies on how we humans are just like a tree or a flower or a river. We are a part of nature, not apart from nature. 

When organisms are living in harmony, the ecosystem is maximizing its evolutionary efficiency. Natural systems, humans included, are resilient and want to grow constantly stronger. Plants may look dead or discolored, but by pruning damaged branches and flowers, they will grow back stronger. Likewise with humans; we have control over our daily actions, whether they be moving the culture forward or not. It’s your choice. Many humans are caught up in a profit-driven competitive cycle that does not foster community growth. Instead we need to enter into a cooperation cycle by listening to others, the planet and our bodies. Establishing sustainable habits is not an easy one-day activity, but neither is reforestation. Both processes are critical to the health of our planet.

Our planet is suffering. The Amazon Rainforest is burning. Antarctica is melting and sea levels are rising. Chronic diseases are more prevalent than ever. Hunger strikes families in our own communities. Politicians and leaders debate yet do nothing. It may seem like there is no hope, but that’s just one side of the coin. Flip it over. Look at the situation differently. Change your mindset. Believe in yourself. Each one of us can make a difference because our individual actions can create a cumulative, positive domino effect. 

Every day I make an effort to care for myself and the Earth: I eat a plant-based diet, pick up trash to #unlitter, and work out to keep my mind and body healthy. I have found that by sharing these simple actions through my social media posts, I inspire others to live a more consciously connected life.  

I encourage you to try one or all of these consciously connected actions:

  • Reduce animal products and incorporate more whole-foods into your diet, including beans, veggies, fruits and whole grains. Animal agriculture is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. #meatlessmonday 

  • Swap plastic for reusables (glassware, bamboo utensils, grocery bags, water bottle)

  • Patronize your local farmers market (link allows you to search for market near you!)

  • Connect with yourself and community (yoga class, self-care routine, turn off electronics, call an old friend)Let your creative juices flow (journal, make art, dance, make a new recipe) 

Although these actions may seem insignificant in solving the enormous global issues at hand, each action—no matter how small—makes a difference, and sets you up to be mindful of the environment and people around you. Healing our internal and external ecosystems requires a global community made up of conscientious consumers from every country around the world. 

I know that I am not alone in feeling the desire for change; everywhere I travel people recognize that our ecosystems are suffering.

A global paradigm shift is in the process, and a quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead both captures the moment and inspires me:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” 

"Live Dirty, Eat Clean and Green",

-Lizzie Shutt


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