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Love Mother Earth April 25, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Environmental Concerns.
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Earth Day is officially 40 years old this year. Gee, it seems like only yesterday that it started…does that sound like somebody’s grandmother talking??? Well, I am somebody’s grandmother, so I’m allowed.

We use more than our share

Even though Earth Day has been around for a while, we still need to pay more attention to how we use Earth’s resources, especially  we Americans. It’s sad to say but we use something like 70% of the world’s energy resources but we certainly don’t make up 70% of the world’s land mass or population. It just boils down to the fact that Americans use more than our fair share of resources and we need to stop.

I attended a one-day workshop yesterday that was held in a Philadelphia Hilton. At lunch each person was given a lunch that was packaged in a plastic box that had a recycling symbol on the bottom. Good, I thought. One of the hotel employees was coming around to collect the containers. “Are you recycling these?” I asked. He shook his head no. So, about 200 plastic boxes were to be dumped into a landfill—and this is just one hotel, one event on one day in one city. Multiply this by who knows how many and the effect boggles the mind. And it drives me crazy. My intention is to write to Hilton and ask them to review their practices.

And that’s what we all need to do. Even if we take baby steps we need to become more conscious of the little (and big) things that we do that are wasteful. We even have a mainstream word for this now—‘green’. I guess we’re making progress—at least it’s now in our vernacular and our mega marketing machines have taken it up. So good, we are moving in the right direction.

Try these things to be greener

In the spirit of taking on a greener consciousness, I offer a short list of things you (and I) can adopt to do our part.

  1. Take reusable bags to the grocery store—every time you go. C’mon, this is a small thing and it’s not difficult. I used to forget them every time and have to go out to my car to get them. I have now trained myself to remember them more than 90% of the time. We don’t need a gazillion plastic bags in our lives. And most grocery stores now offer cool reusable bags for a nominal price. These bags are also quite useful for other things as well. I am particularly taken with the ones that Trader Joe’s sells. They are strong and attractive.
  2. Be conscious of how you use resources like water and electricity around the house. Don’t let the water run if you are not using it. Like when you’re brushing your teeth or cleaning up in the kitchen. Just turn it off—there’s no charge for using the faucet a bunch of times. And turn off lights when you don’t need them on. This is not rocket science…
  3. Consider buying a carbon offset when you are traveling by air. There are lots of web sites that offer this. What it boils down to is that when you fly or do most anything for that matter, there is a price to pay in terms of greenhouse gases . So you can buy a carbon offset credit that can offset this effect. The companies that sell carbon offsets then invest the money you spend into projects that are environmentally supportive like planting trees or supporting wind power-producing.  Here’s a link that explains how to go about buying carbon offsets .http://www.wikihow.com/Buy-a-Carbon-Offset
  4. Recycle everything that your municipality allows. Most people are good with glass and plastic. But there’s more. My borough’s service allows cardboard, newspaper, magazines and all types of plastic. On recycling day, I don’t see my neighbors recycling everything that’s possible. In fact, some of them never put out their recycling container. What’s up with that?
  5. Use cloth napkins, permanent coffee filters and real plates and glasses. Forget about the plastic and paper. (And we won’t even talk about disposable diapers.)

We can do this!

I could go on but as I said, baby steps. Everything in the list is do-able. We just all need to bring a new consciousness to this issue. It’s not optional—really.

–Amara

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