Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day. It feels weird to title this post "Happy Earth Day", as Earth in general is anything but "Happy" right now, but i'm 'Happy' to fall on the bandwagon a little and use today as a reminder of all the things we should be doing everyday to help protect our future on this planet. 

At the moment there are around 6.8 billion people on this planet and we are rapidly using up all our non-renewable resources, as well as polluting and poisoning many areas of the globe. Global warming has seen our atmosphere warm on average 1C in the last century, with some areas seeing as much as a 2C change in just the last 50 years. CO2 in our atmosphere has increased by ~40% since the industrial revolution, to levels not seen on this planet for over 650,000 years, and more importantly, are increasing at a rate that has never before been seen on this planet. Though the models and science often conflict on the exact numbers and damage that might occur and when it might occur, there is one overarching theme and message that the majority of scientists have to offer - though climate changes are natural, humans are increasing climate change at an unsustainable rate, and unless we do something about it now, we will be in trouble in the future. But WE CAN do something about it, thats the good news. 

This is why "Earth Day = Every Day". 

Figuring out what is better than what is often not easy - is it better to buy organic bananas that were grown in Fiji rather than non-organic local? Is it better to buy a new car that has better mileage than keep onto an old car to save it from a landfill? I'm not sure. What I do like is that people are actually THINKING about these possibilities, and that these seem to be the questions of the day rather than "should I buy a second car" or shopping blindly. My views on those - I would buy local (and bulk buy that has less packaging) over organic in most things and I would buy a better mileage car and make sure my old one was resold to continue to be used or go to a scrap yard to be recycled - are they the right way around, i'm not sure, but I know either way, they are better than not thinking at all.....

So what am I going to do today? Nothing special really, i'm going to walk to work, take in my lunch in my reusable containers (including spork, napkin and drink bottle), look around the "Sustainability Festival" going on at UH and if I shop use my reusable bags, maybe even take in one of the lectures going on. At the end of the day i'll turn off my computer and printer, turn out the lights and walk home. 

My tips for "Earth Day = Every Day" - do what you can, don't be overwhelmed, even a little does count and often sets the trend to do more!  

- Recycle whatever is possible for your area, don't be tempted to throw away that plastic bottle just because you're not at home - take it home with you! 
- Always take reusable bags everywhere! Not just the supermarket either, they're good for mall shops too!
- Take a packed lunch, include reusable utensils and napkin too! 
- Leave a mug at work or in the car so you don't have to use a disposable one for that Starbucks
- If you can, walk
- Replace bulbs with energy saving ones and turn them off when not needed
- Turn off anything electrical at the end of the day - but if you're using something like a computer multiple times a day, it's actually more energy efficient to leave it on (on powersave standby - but turn off the monitor!) than to turn it on and off all day causing power surges (it's better for your computer too!). 
- Actively look for things with less packaging - supermarket or mall 
- Look for recycled items to buy as alternatives - paper and plastics
- Use less chemicals - on your skin, on the counter, in the garden - there are many great green alternatives out there, some in stores if you like brand names or the ease of buying ready made, and some as simple as baking soda and vinegar - try it, your skin, house, plants and planet will love you for it.....
- 4 minute showers or less! Timers are easy to come by, and it can be fun to beat the timer! 
- Buy Less! It'll help the wallet (saved for those few-time treats or travel), clear out your house from junk and help the planet too! 
- Plant a garden - more food home grown means less conundrums as to whether to buy organic or local - you can have both! 

There are many more out there too......


nicola said...

excellent post!

PleaseRecycle said...

Thanks for the post!

LSULiv said...

This is THE best Earth Day post I've read!