Did you know that there are about 10,000 regular three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover? Apparently, the number 4 has special meaning. It has come to be considered the number of labor and stability. Why? In the maxim that art is "25% inspiration and 75% perspiration", four is the effort required to put the idea down on paper, to learn the piece and perfect it. Four also represents the 4 elements: fire, air, water and Earth. And, according to Plato, wisdom, courage, self control and justice are the four virtues. Legend says that each leaf of a four leaf clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.
What does this have to do with personal sustainability or living a green lifestyle? Well, the number 4 is also the number that represents where you can have the biggest impact in reducing your carbon footprint. As we approach St. Patrick's Day, why not celebrate the holiday by putting some green into it and get in the eco spirit? Hence, the eco clover:
Hope: Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. With the over saturation of negative media today, it's easy to loose sight of good things to come. We can use hope to identify areas in our lives or businesses that have an environmental impact and that we are also willing to change and improve. Hope can guide us to look at going paperless at home or in your office, perhaps improving air quality or maybe start recycling. These changes don't have to be hard or cumbersome. Eco actions we can take include: alternative fuel transportation, fuel efficiency and personal reduction (commuting, ride share, alternative transportation). These actions create hope and an expectation for good things to come in our personal lives, work, and for the environment.
Faith: Faith is the confident belief in the truth of or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. Having faith can aid our focus with anticipation of positive outcomes. How so? Stretch your imagination and take action. If you started a paperless program or energy efficiency program as part of your green living plan, then start looking for the savings on a monthly and quarterly basis. By switching to wind or renewable sources, the average family could save the equivalent to thousands of miles driven in a car. Sustainable actions include: source control (wind, renewable, offsets), home efficiency (energy star appliances), and personal energy management. Intangible benefits that aren't as easily measured may be the first evidence of taking action based on faith: improved employee morale at work, impressions changing for the better or family members and neighbors feeling good about taking environmental action.
Love: Find appreciation in what is working in your life and your business. Have you noticed that what you focus on expands? Clear fresh water is rapidly becoming an endangered resource in even the most developed countries. Sustainable actions directly aligned with personal savings include: water management (personal use and outdoor watering) and waste water management (controlling what goes down the drain and into the storm drains). Water is a source for life. Love your life, your business, and love our planet.
Luck: Create your own pot of gold. The actions we take today create our tomorrow. Invest in sustainability concepts in your business and your life for a better tomorrow. A large portion of what goes into the average garbage is recyclable. By separating your plastics, glass, and paper, the weekly volume sent to the landfill could be cut by more than half. Sustainable actions include waste reduction, energy efficiency, recycling programs, water conservation, community involvement, sustainable businesses practices, living a green lifestyle and investing in socially responsible investing.
This St. Patrick's Day, create a little magic! Ignite a little spark! When you consider that over 80% of our personal impact can be bucketed into four major categories, the opportunities for personal action becomes empowering. We can create magical four leaf clovers by putting the green in our lives and expecting extraordinary results.