Reduce, reuse, recycle: a phrase familiar to most of us. It’s origination was designed to teach the youth and much of America how to reduce the rate of our landfill usage, as well as lowering our consumption to a more sustainable level. Fortunately most of us have not gravitated past these simple concepts. What was meant to be a catchy reminder has also served to convince a large percentage of the American population that we have things under control if we just follow these three simple steps.
While all of these steps are useful and necessary with expanding populations and limited resources, it also inadvertently oversimplifies our responsibility. Simply reducing our usage, reusing products, and sorting out recyclables from our garbage is not enough to make the impact that the original message is seeking to achieve.
When we know better, we can do better. Here are some other pertinent ways we can have a positive affect on our resource availabilities and waste containment crisis that go in Tandem with the primary three R’s.
Reduce our usage by consuming less
Reuse products multiple times
Recycle the waste that can be utilized again
Reevaluation of our needs versus unnecessary commodities
Reflection of our practices in the agriculture industry
Repurpose our lawns from ornamental to functional
Repair broken policies that undermine effective environmental law
Refurbish used items instead of replacing them
Reclaim our natural resources from corporate control
Remediate invasive overgrowth in areas where native populations are suffering
Replace inefficient setups with modern energy efficient equivalents
Raise our own animals that we want to consume to maintain higher care standards
Reap our own garden to lower the cost and loss of transit systems in importation
Ration our available land for public or private development
Readjust our role in the food chain
Rebound our endangered species populations through better captive breeding programs and sustained genetic diversity
Realize our carbon footprint is manageable and reversible
Rebuild our delicate ecosystems by lowering the dependency on cash crops
Recall restrictive legislation negatively impacting individualized efforts of self sufficiency
Recharge our aquifers to resist saltwater intrusion and further sinkhole development
Reclaim our environmental pollutants by developing better extraction equipment
Recognize our differences as advantageous opportunities to see the world from different perspectives to confer in a greater cumulative balance with nature
Read peer reviewed journals to stay up to date on the latest scientific inquiries and discoveries before theyre filtered through niche interest groups
Recompose our emotions and take our bias out of our planning process to find the best available options despite our perspective preferences
Reconcile our focus on the present to include more reflection of the past and planning for the future. Being narrow sighted leads to short term successes but long term failures.
Reconsider our approach with poaching in impoverished populations to include promoting alternative opportunities instead of just criminalizing hunting
Record our success to allow others to recreate our accomplishments in their native environments. Nature is a community of beneficial interconnections and our information exchange should be also.
Recover our heritage and our early relationship with the world around us
Recreate our self image from consumers to producers, from user to creators.
Rectify our prior actions by taking responsibility for them and working with the next generation to foster change.
Redeem our unethical captivity of animals by transitioning all facilities into habitable educational programs and breeding lines for species preservation and reintroduction campaigns
Redistribute access and rights to local resources for indigenous populations and native wildlife’s consumption.
Rediscover more sustainable alternatives to our more difficult or destructively farmed current cultivars
Redo our nutritional suggestions to broaden our accepted dietary options
Reestablish displaced wildlife populations due to underplanned development projects
Refill our bays and oceans with strategically farmed lush marine vegetation
Refine our palettes to include more sustainable alternatives that our taste buds aren’t commonly used to
Reflect on our current treatment of agricultural workers
Reform a localized growth pattern for the agricultural industry
Refuse products that are not ethically sourced, mined, farmed, cultivated, and extracted
Regenerate our burned lands with new planting and better maintenance to prevent further large scale disasters
Regulate the commercial fishing industry to better allocate for the significantly deceasing marine wildlife populations
Rehabilitate wildlife injured as a direct result of our development, expansion and habitat intrusion
Reject traditional factory farming in favor of a more ethical model of livestock rearing
Rotate your crops: Certain vegetation requires more or less of certain nutrients and growing a singular type every season will lead to rapid soil depletion and ultimately a failed harvest one day. However this practice is also responsible for harming soil biology and upsetting microbe populations.
This list is just the beginning. With every breath, every step, and every choice, we can do better together.