About A Holistic Approach

The Importance Of A Holistic Approach To Sustainable Living

Photo by CS Sherin

What is a holistic approach to sustainable living?

The critical issues and crises we face are systemic. Everything is connected.

For example, until we have fair wages–in proportion to cost of living and inflation–for everyone, the financially stressed will continue to be inhumanely limited in the ethical purchases that are easily accessible.

We must adopt a holistic mindset in order to be a part of lasting positive change for our collective health, and all life on Earth.

Below you will find excerpts from my book, Recipe For A Green Life that highlight and further explain the holistic approach.

Please note that the Green cleaning, hygiene, and plant-based meal recipes in Recipe For A Green Life all have a holistic aim, integrating: simplicity/minimalism, economical/affordable; and eliminating cruelty, reducing dependence on meat and dairy (plant-based meals); and eliminating toxic ingredients and single-use plastics. The recipes all seek the ideals of zero-waste, Fair Trade, local, and organic.

The many do-it-yourself (DIY) recipes, for various parts of life, can be one of the most powerful grassroots actions that we take, in order to empower and care for ourselves and our loved ones–in a holistically sustainable way. 

Why Holistic?

Because our varied unique needs and circumstances require us to embrace simplicity and still deal with complexity, multiplicity, and duplicity. Our physical, financial, and geographical circumstances are unique. We must approach and apply our ability to adapt and change with specific circumstances. As individuals our approaches and strengths-weaknesses vary, necessarily. At the same time, we are unified in our common goals for health and well-being for all life, and work for a better present and future. The holistic mindset and vision answers these varying needs and circumstances, and main issues well. 

The following are excerpts from Recipe For A Green Life: A Holistic Green Living Handbook And Recipe Book (2nd Edition, copyright 2018, all rights reserved) by CS Sherin, and edited by Charish Badzinski, which especially highlight some of the reasons for a holistic approach for sustainable living.

We cannot talk about health and balance for people without talking about health and balance for Nature, and how all lives are interconnected. A Green life seeks to maintain that interconnected balance—preserving health, habitats, resources, communities, diversity, and biodiversity. Green living isn’t one niche, such as “plastic-free” or “zero waste,” “minimalist” or “vegan.” Green living encompasses all of Nature–whole communities of living beings, resources, health, ecosystems, and our one essential ocean, as well as all water sources on and under land. Holistic traditionally means that the medical, mental health, or spiritual care provided addresses and takes into account, not just the injury/disease/diagnosis, but the person as a whole. Holistic medical care recognizes that everything about a person (background, genetics, family life, work, education, mobility, resources, beliefs, stress levels, and effective coping tools in one’s possession, relationships, habits, disabilities, traumas, opportunity, and internal components as well—mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical) are all interconnected. A holistic approach, in the traditional context, attempts to ensure that you are not solely identified by or reduced to a diagnosis, which can dehumanize us and compartmentalize interrelated issues. Similarly, Green living is best lived holistically, and so aims for Fair Trade principles for all wages and workers—domestic, foreign, and local. A holistic Green life aims to be toxin-free, single-use plastic-free, cruelty-free, conflict-free, minimalist, and waste-free; while maintaining a measured approach that allows room for imperfection, limitations, and other obstacles that are a part of reality….All issues on the planet are symptoms related to the whole. And even though a single Green life may not be able to directly deal with and address all issues, the holistic mindset and awareness is necessary. Recognizing, facing, learning about, and addressing barriers to our Green choices and actions is required, in order to effect real and lasting positive change for the better….Not all barriers mentioned are directly related to general Green living on a personal and daily level, yet all barriers affect the ability for all to have the freedom and right to a Green life — to healthy water, air, food, and homes. A holistic perspective and awareness, as well as a willingness to address any barriers, when there is an opportunity to, are of primary importance.”

~ #3 of the “8 Foundational Principles For Holistic Green Living,”
Recipe For A Green Life by CS Sherin, 2018©

“Financial Considerations…Green choices and values are often in conflict with the US expectation and norm for getting everything cheaply….The minimum wage ($7.25 in Wisconsin in 2018) for most US citizens/residents is not proportionate to cost of living and inflation–or what each person’s time, energy and skills are worth. I have spoken with people who are working 60-80 hours per week for minimum wage with few or no benefits. The threat of job loss is real if health issues or personal needs conflict with hours demanded. People are desperate and exhausted, some having to work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet and support a family. Until we have a more equitable and just system, making ongoing Green (ethical) choices will continue to be a real challenge for many.”

~ Chapter 3, Recipe For A Green Life by CS Sherin, 2018©

“Systemic Issues Call For A Holistic Approach…We need better, healthier, and more affordable choices. As mentioned elsewhere in this book, we need fair wages in order to pay fair prices. Our issues are systemic, and this is why Green living must be looked at from a holistic perspective. Every choice affects every other choice. That is why this book takes the broad approach to Green living. The changes we need to make are layered, interconnected, and far-reaching. Awareness of this gives us firm footing to head in the right direction together. I can’t solve the serious issues about clothing and other topics in this book right here and now, but together, over time, we can raise awareness, put in place real standards, and create new and healthy choices.”

~ “Systemic Issues Call For A Holistic Approach” chapter 17,
Recipe For A Green Life by CS Sherin, 2018©

“Holistic Green Actions For Business And Community…Living and practicing a holistic Green life means to preserve the planet, conserve resources, stand up for health, and find sustainable means to pursue it—in as many creative and ethical ways as possible. This extends to how we use resources, how we take care of ourselves, and the kinds of events, businesses, and organizations we give our time and energy to. It can also extend to political action, petitions, business practices, travel, and even legal action. We can contribute to a Greener human presence on Earth particularly by making an effort to change the ways we interact and do business.”

“Holistic Green Actions For Business And Community” chapter 17,
Recipe For A Green Life by CS Sherin, 2018©

Updated September 2019