Somewhere high on the list called Things Our Predecessors Understood That We Have Forgotten ranks the philosophy of using all parts of the buffalo. For the indigenous population of the pre-European North American prairies, this referred to the literal buffalo; for us, it can refer to the metaphorical buffalo, or more specifically, all the natural resources we undervalue.
Using all parts of the buffalo means never letting anything go to waste that can be put to use in some other way. For the buffalo-hunting people of long ago it was an intuitive reality dictated in part by a respect for their source of sustenance, and in part by the challenges of day-to-day life. Today, it can be a slogan for a paradigm shift: for learning to respect our environment and the resources we take from it.
Keep the buffalo in mind in everything you do.
If you eat meat, save bones, skin, and other parts of whatever you’ve eaten to make soup stock. Boiling all the discarded parts of your holiday turkey, for example, is an old standard and makes a great soup.
You can do the same thing with vegetables. Keep all the leftover bits from your carrots, peppers, zucchinis, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes (et cetera, et cetera) in the freezer, and when you’ve got enough, boil them all together into a delicious soup stock.
Keep seeds, and plant them.
Before you compost coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit cores, vegetable scraps just about anything soak them in water in a glass jar in the sun for a day or two. Strain out the juice, and you’ve got a homemade plant fertilizer rich in vitamins that will make your houseplants or garden very happy.
Challenge yourself. Take a long look at whatever you’re tossing into the garbage not just food and ask yourself if there’s some way you can use it. It could save you money, and it will certainly save a few buffalos.