A personal journey to effect change
I am new to the world of environmental intention. I don’t know if was the one-hundred and fifty whales that washed up, dead, on an Australia beach, or the Planet Earth movies on NETFLIX, or the focus on issues on the Good Men Project’s environmental convocast, or all of it and more. Earth species on land and water are disappearing and disrupting the balance of our ecosystems which will disrupt and eventually end life.
Corporate America is practicing eco-terrorism by not addressing the impact of factories, mining, fracking, and refineries have on pollution and eliminating the threat. This planet only has a finite air and water supply. Without water, a human can only survive days — without air, a few minutes. To maximize profits, the fossil fuel industry reads this apocalypse as pump more oil and gas, faster, and in more places — speed up manufacturing, farm every piece of land until the soil is useless, and sell, sell, sell while there are people to buy.
We, the people, must be the change
Our resources are depleting at an untenable rate. While there’s much that must be done and done now, via the government on all levels, I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint and, by example encourage others to do the same. I live in a townhome on a sixth of an acre. While my family thinks I’ve gone overboard with my efforts, and they groan when I mention “environment,” they are, little by little, making changes and thinking twice about use, reuse, recycle, repurpose.
Pesticide-free native plant garden
I started with grass. Removed most of it to create a native plant garden with a small pond that is eco-friendly to all the insects, birds, and critters. No pesticides. Mostly a flower garden with a strip of grass for my dogs and my second foray into vegetables. I’m testing the waters here because I think everyone will have to start growing or buying local as migrant workers are stopped at our southern border and climate change affects our farming industry.
Solar panels, garbage, and plastics
Next, I added solar panels to my roof. They made a big difference in providing energy. Then, this year, I got the notice that our garbage dump was over-flowing. Waste had to be carted further away to a larger dump. Garbage is multiplying faster than our ability to handle it.
Videos of plastic in floating islands found in our oceans, on beaches, and in waterways, killing aquatic life and poisoning our drinking water opened my eyes. Autopsies on fish, turtles, porpoises, and whales showed death by contamination. Bits and pieces of plastic were ingested unintentionally as contaminants or intentionally as “jellyfish.”
We are responsible
The rubbish was tossed by people and swept into the sea after flooding events, washed from the land and garbage dumps by the tides. Natural disasters are not the primary cause, people are.
Modeling carbon neutral behavior
I stopped buying bottled water. I try to use my car only when I have multiple errands, as I know the gas and microparticles from the tires contaminate the air. I’ve exchanged plastic straws for stainless steel, and plastic bags for eco-friendly compostable bags. All plastic bags and lightweight plastic packaging goes back to the store collection site. I look for glass jars instead of plastic and try to limit purchases that include a rigid plastic container.
My latest venture is a composter. It feels huge with a three-foot diameter by three feet high. An eighty-gallon monster that says, “Feed me, Seymour,” every time I go by. As I separate food from waste, my waste load is much smaller. So, small in fact, that I can put my garbage out once a month in one bag instead of twice a month in two bags each.
Next, my plan is to switch from plastic back to paper. Yes, I was throwing out the garbage in the store provided paper bags before plastic bags were available. I can easily go back to that because I’m now throwing “wet” garbage into my compost bin. For those who use large plastic bags for waste, try a leaf bag. Its paper and it decomposes. Even more important, paper doesn’t kill.
Paper and glass are reminders of how I lived before petrochemicals invaded our culture, fouling air and water. We didn’t care because it made life easier, lighter, and faster. This gave us more leisure time to spend with our families and friends. Especially in a world where work, earning a living, takes up more and more time and pays less and less. Convenience beats conservation. However, little steps can make a big difference when we all do it.
I now shop with an eye to packaging and I’m looking at ways to reduce plastic containers, like buy in bulk, reuse containers, and choose bar soap instead of liquid. As far as clothing, one of the biggest polluters, I don’t go out and buy stuff I want unless I need it. Everything matters. I encourage everyone to try to change at least one thing to help the environment and reduce waste.
Need a reason to go environmental?
Dead People Don’t Shop. That’s it. That’s the reason the Corporate community needs to get on board with saving the planet’s resources and ending pollution. The “make money today and damn the future economic collapse” is not going to benefit anyone in the long run – and we’re talking twenty-five years, not even a lifetime.
I repeat: Dead People Don’t Shop. So, do one thing (or more) to reduce your carbon footprint, fight for clean water and clean air at local, state, and federal governmental levels, make #ClimateAction one of your candidate’s primary objectives, and #Vote2019 and #Vote2020. Show your children and your neighbors so they can do it too. Talk about it. Ask everyone and every store to end the use of plastic bags, plastic-ware, plastic straws, and plastic take-out containers. Stop using pesticides and use natural remedies.
Don’t be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution. And, in case you were wondering, here in the Northeast, my compost will be ready to fertilize my garden in six months to a year.
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