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How To Live More Sustainably (Without Buying A Thing)

June 2, 2017

My wife and I recently celebrated Earth Day weekend in Miami at the latest and greatest in eco-friendly, high-end hospitality.

We loved our stay at 1 Hotels, the newest in LEED-certified resort destinations located in the heart of Miami Beach, and see its very existence as a promising sign for the future of sustainability and business.

I’ve seen many a company jump on the environmental bandwagon in lip service only, so it’s fair to say I was skeptical about the hotel’s lofty claims. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised. For 1 Hotels, green isn’t just marketing hype. It’s their mission statement, woven into the very fabric of their ethos.

Natural light, abundant plant life and reclaimed wood dominate the hotel’s modern aesthetic. Plastic is replaced with cardboard, notepads with chalkboards. And every room features 100 percent cotton linens, hemp-blend beds and a triple-filtered water tap.

Perhaps the best part? My friend Matthew Kenny’s Plnthouse restaurant. I have traveled the world and stayed in many fine resorts. But never before have I enjoyed 100 percent organic and plant-based cuisine in a hotel.

To win, you can’t just be right. You have to be better. By fusing first class posh with ecological conservation, 1 Hotels is doing for hospitality what Tesla has done for electric transportation—proving that luxury and sustainability can be aligned and need not be mutually exclusive.

The experience left me feeling optimistic about the future. And thinking a lot about the idea of sustainability.

What does this zeitgeist-y, at times overhyped term actually mean? Reuse, repurpose, recycle, upcycle are all words that come to mind.

For most, the inquiry ends here. Do these things, and you feel good, content that your actions align with your estimable values.

All of this is great of course. But in my opinion, true sustainability runs deeper.

True sustainability requires striking an even balance not only between you and your environment, but also between you and your consumer choices, your material possessions, your career, your relationships, and most of all your relationship with yourself.

Living sustainably cannot exist without inner equilibrium—living in alignment with your highest self. Discovering what that is for you requires developing healthy boundaries around what best serves you and others. It requires extreme mindfulness on a moment-by-moment basis. It demands embracing the hard-fought journey to discover what makes your heart beat hardest. And it commands the courage to express that passion in every aspect of your life.

It's hard. Perhaps the hardest and yet most important journey you will ever take.

But it's also the path to freedom. Freedom from an identity dictated by consumerism and the expectations of others. Freedom to be who you really are—the best version of yourself laying dormant within, yearning to be self-actualized.

With every breath you take, thought you entertain, word you speak, action you take, and dollar you spend, you are either moving towards your most authentic self, or away from it. There is no stasis.

The time is now. May you find your own, unique, sustainable equilibrium—because the world needs you. All of you. You in your most unique, fully expressed self, in balance with this precious world we all share.

Because every day is Earth Day.

Peace + Plants,