Sunday, 22 April 2012

Doomed Earth Without the Dollar...

The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Earth Day 1970, was ultimately, the result of the massive 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. 

Over 20 million people joined-in that year, and Earth Day is now observed on April 22 each year by more than 500 million people and several national governments in 175 countries.  

Oil Blackened Seawall and Wave at Right - California 1969

Life has changed radically since the ‘70’s and not for the better! For change to be lasting it has to fit with the lives we lead today; most of us are too hassled and stressed to deal with anything other than small steps. 

Sure, our planet and “all who sail on her” are in trouble, but what can we do? Hopefully, find some small changes that will help you; because how can we help the earth if we can’t help ourselves? So find some small thing you can accomplish.  

Make sure it’s do-able.  And just do it! Every day! And after three weeks, it will be a habit…then pick one other little thing. 

Rinse…Repeat! Maybe you can only do one thing but do a new (little) something every year…After a few years of this, think how green you’ll be? 
(You may even be mistaken for a Martian) And healthy, and better off? And our Planet? Now, multiply your small steps by 500 million people! Wow!

The Junk Castle

Some small suggestions; easy green hacks to add quality of life and help the planet! Don’t think if you are a dedicated fasionista, an antique tool enthusiast, a born city dweller or…   (fill in the blank) that there’s nothing you can do to improve your life.  

These are all simple, do-able steps that don’t require any major life changes. No, you won’t have to live in palaces that look like the Junk Castle and you can keep the Ferrari too!

1.   Walk or cycle when possible. Otherwise save gas/petrol by making sure your tires/tyres are at the correct pressure, take off your roof rack to cut drag and increase mileage by keeping your car serviced.

2.   Cook at home; buy fresh, locally produced ingredients, avoid excess packaging, stop food waste, lose some weight and boost your health.

3.   Don’t throw away, give away; if you don’t need it, maybe someone else can use it. Or donate to charity and feel good!

Guard Your Electricity!
4.   Don’t drive until you can do several errands at once. Saves fuel, wear and tear on that Ferrari and some of your precious time.

5.   Break the bondage of alkaline batteries; get a couple of sets of rechargeables and a charger, save the environment and money too.

6.   Watch the power; switch lights off when leaving a room, change bulbs to low wattage energy savers, stop using the clothes dryer – a huge energy suck, this one. Turn the setting on your hot water tank/geyser down and only switch it on when you’re actually going to use it. Ours runs for about an hour in the afternoon; oh, it helps if the tank is well insulated – keeps the water hot, longer. This is a big saving; we cut our bill in half when we got serious about the hot water!

            7.   Eat less meat; skip one meat-based meal a week and help your diet, your pocket and the planet.

8.   Recycle glass; cuts related air pollution by 20 % and related water pollution by 50 % and if it isn't recycled, glass takes a really, really long time to break down. Like about a million years?

9.   Use matches instead of lighters; disposable lighters are mostly plastic and contain butane… Petroleum products folks…very bad, especially when discarded.

10.  Old fashioned housekeeping solutions - using everyday staples such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice - won’t pollute your family or the earth and saves money too. 

    11.  Stop using plastic bags for your shopping; make or buy some reusable cloth totes and take them with you when you go shopping. Here in South Africa, giving bags to customers is illegal; either bring your own bag or buy one there at the shop.

Africa's Rift Valley

Unfortunately, many conservationists, for whom every day is Earth Day, deride its observance. The feeling is that this, generally symbolic day, encourages change for a short time but old habits come running back when life-gets-in-the-way!

Ambiguous environmentalists will find Earth Day a morale booster, for sure. Maybe the biggest carrot for us is that most green choices help save dollars, an immediate pay-off. 

That they can also lead to better health for us and our families and continuing life for our planet, is too far removed from the instant results this 21st century demands. 

You'll smile one day when a small child says "thank you," for trying to save the planet.

"We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." 
                           ~Old American Indian Saying


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