Sustainbility During Times of Crisis

There is no better time than during a pandemic like COVID-19 to pause and reflect on how we can redevelop some new commitments and best practices so we can take better care of the environment and ourselves. As I see it, future-proofing sustainable recovery and sustainable development is the clear, and only way out. I call this my “Relentless Realignment” formula. Time and again after I do my mental balcony exercise, my key take away is to return to a more responsible consumption and production standard. Ultimately this equates to living a more circular based driven economy, and a life style that is more in keeping with how our ancestors lived.

As such, I would like to share some innovative tips that have kept me healthy and going strong during COVID-19, Ebola, Zika and the flu season.

  1. Eat healthy and Eat Clean. Following her ancestors footsteps, my great grandmother would always carry her own eating utensils, flask and a small bar of soap wrapped in a cloth napkin. When she finished her meal, she would excuse herself from the table and go to the lavatory where she washed her hands and utensils with her own soap and then dried same with her own napkin. What a great way to reduce waste, and stay vigilant during COVID-19. Guess what she did when she thought she was coming down with the flu? She would serve herself a meal with horseradish which kills Listeria, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and other food pathogens. It also reduces inflammation and is a powerful nasal disinfectant. Imagine that! Currently it is widely known that COVID-19 does not like copper. What is not common knowledge is that this trace mineral performs important biochemical functions that help keep us healthy. Foods high in copper include liver, oysters and shellfish. If you are a vegetarian include spirulina, shitake mushrooms, chocolate and leafy greens in your diet. Eat seasonal and include naturally fermented, cultured foods and drink clean water in small quantities throughout the day. If you are taking medicine that is harmful to your gut biome you might want to consider asking your doctor to refer a nutritionist who can tailor a diet specific to your particular health needs. Something to keep in mind is our diet intake needs will fluctuate based on our current health conditions (including stress factors).
  2. Hygiene. As a kid my mother used to remind me to wash my hands every time I returned home from playing outdoors. Later in life I would carry a piece of aloe in a ziploc bag for those long jungle hikes without access to water or soap. Not sure why and when cleanliness became relegated. However, with COVID-19 the erstwhile importance of hygiene has resurfaced and frequent handwashing and/or the use non toxic hand sanitizers is now gaining momentum. Interestingly enough, today you can buy antibacterial cream made out of copper. Or, you can emulate our ancestors and wear copper bracelets and jewelry. Imagine the benefit of using a copper nose ring or better yet, copper nose filters!
  3. Use washable, reusable masks. Nota Bene: Now is a time to travel less, shop online or instacart for groceries. If you have to go out, use a mask! If you are short on cash, there are plenty of youtube videos that can teach you how to make your own mask. The trick here is to use the appropriate material. My preference is wool because it is hypoallergenic, anti-fungal, antibacterial, is breathable and washable. Savvy manufacturers have even created copper infused face masks.
  4. When possible, buy in bulk.  This reduces wasteful packaging and will help minimize grocery store visits. If you have a compromised immune system, you might want to consider buying online or instacarting.
  5. Clean up and declutter.  Now is a great time to have an open air garage sale. So roll up your sleeves and clean out your junk drawers, closets and garages. Donate what is left over to your local thrift shops.
  6. Research and support sustainable brands. This may include cosmetics, clothing, household products, etc. Discover which companies practice Corporate Social Responsibility, support equality and produce quality and durable products.
  7. Support your local farmers. Many farmers’ markets are practicing safe distancing and some farmers are selling their wares from the trunks of their cars. Our farmer’s market provides hand sanitation kiosks, free masks and vendors are safely distanced. Don’t forget to bring your own tote bag!

Who knew 2020 would become defined by such a major paradigm shift, a year of releasing excess and clearing ways for new beginnings. New ways of seeing, eating and conducting businesses.

Welcome to our new creative revolution! A world full of opportunities just waiting to be discovered or rediscovered!

Written by

Tina Cornely is a long standing humanitarian and environmental activist. She is the former Director of Technology of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the former Director of Operations at the Miami Art Museum in Miami, Florida. Ms. Cornely believes that art is healing and revealing. In her own words, we can express with art what we cannot express with words. When we use art to teach others, we help increase their critical thinking skills exponentially. Art can also be a means to generate a revenue source. And when you make art out of trash, everyone benefits.
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