3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

To me, embodiment in the context of climate change and ecoliteracy can be defined as:  The intrinsic feeling one has to make positive, responsible change to their everyday life, regardless of how small, in order to become more ecoliterate and to combat against climate change.

For some, the 3R’s remind them of the old expression Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.  But for most, the 3R’s bring to mind the important steps in waste reduction:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

I grew up being taught that recycling is good for the environment but that was about the extent of my knowledge.   I never fully realized that the 3R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are as important individually as they are together to help reduce climate change. Growing up I learned to throw obvious recyclables such as cans and bottles into the recycling to be disposed of responsibly instead of being thrown out.  However, it was not until I began working in a variety of early childhood settings that I fully realized the potential of what I used to see as trash or recycling to simply be disposed of.  So many of these things can be “upcycled” or used to create so many other things.  Personally upcycling or recycling within our own lives teaches children the endless possibilities of what can be done to benefit the environment and the importance of the 3R’s.

Kimmerer says, “Let us put our minds together as one and send greetings and thanks to our Mother Earth, who sustains our lives with her many gifts” (Kimmerer, 2013, p. 256). There are many possible ways to embody change, become more ecoliterate and to combat climate change. We only have one Earth and need to take action to protect our planet and sustain its resources and gifts.

Even after this class is over I am going to continue to embody change, become more ecoliterate and “Reduce my WASTEline!”

Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.

One thought on “3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  1. I too only thought of recycling as a simple habit we all had to do in order to “do our part” for the environment. I would even go as far as subconsciously praising myself for doing these small good deeds. But, if you stop to think about it; every object you recycle is just another unnecessary purchase you made that you dispersed of before even considering how you could reuse it! Throughout my daily endeavors, such as grocery shopping I notice that the majority of my purchases are pre-packaged in plastic, cardboard or paper. Sure, I recycle them after, but is that the best we can do in the consumerism world we live in? I am not so sure, but i am also not so sure there is anything else we can do? What are your thoughts on this?
    ps, I enjoyed your creative 3R’s pop-can masterpiece 🙂


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