Happy Earth Day to all!
This Earth Day, let’s break it all down and see things for what they are.
Our world is in a state of climate chaos as a result of our conveniences. This CleanTechnica blog provides an opportunity to see what is being done worldwide in the realm of clean technology (ie. renewable energy, alternative fuels, sustainable products and services, etc…) so that we can keep these conveniences.
That’s terrific — I’m glad we are looking for and developing cleaner technology and energy, but this Earth Day I’d like to say: F your conveniences!
Here are 22 (since it’s April 22nd) things you can do daily that are inconvenient but that we would all benefit greatly from if everyone did them. And, to be honest — they’re not that inconvenient. They may, in fact, be just inconvenient enough that when you do them you get the rewarding feeling that you are doing something to benefit the greater good (i.e. earth, and its many earthlings) besides simply donating to a charity once a year during the holiday season.
I know we live in a country full of citizens more excited that Starbucks has a drive-thru than Toyota has a Prius, and will not be truly satisfied until Starbucks has a video camera mounted a mile from its store so it can read your license plate to anticipate your arrival and have your drink ready for you by the time you get there. Then, all you’d have to do is slow down enough for the “barista” to throw your “coffee” into your car as you rolled by with your window down. After all, complete stops are for suckers! I digress…
Those people are out there in large numbers — and they are probably not reading this blog, so it’s up to you to send it to them because these 22 inconveniences can change the world.
This list is pared down from the original 78 I started with. Instead of overwhelming you (as much as I’m in an “I’d love to overwhelm the world” mood right now) I whittled my original list down to its current state. Also, I am hoping people will add to my list through the comments section (at least one please!) and we’ll end up with a list even better and (dare I dream) more overwhelming than my original 78!
Here we go:
1. Buy a rain barrel. You can’t drink the collected water, but you can water your lawn and wash your car with it. You’ll save thousands of gallons per year in the process!
2. Turn off your TV!!! At least limit your TV watching!
3. Drive less. Walk, bike, skip, skate, and stroll, more. This way you can get some fresh air while running an errand, and you’ll feel (and look) better in the long run.
4. Use natural fertilizers on your lawn and garden. Harsh chemicals found in conventional fertilizers are bad for your lawn and all who play on it. Also, they harm our groundwater supply.
5. Replace old bulbs with CFL’s and/or LED’s.
6. Compost. Keep your food scraps separate from your garbage to reduce your waste and to keep any household plants or vegetables extra healthy.
7. Recycle. By recycling and buying products made from recycled goods we save natural resources AND put fewer toxic chemicals into our food chain.
8. Shop less. C’mon, you don’t really need it anyway. But if you HAVE to shop, at least shop sustainably.
9. BYO shopping bag. When you NEED (not want) to shop, use your own bag — you’ll save trees and keep harmful chemicals (used in the making of plastic bags) out of the environment.
10. Use a low-flow showerhead. You’ll save a lot of water. May I also suggest showering less and showering with a friend? Yes, I may.
11. Use power strips. By plugging many appliances (e.g. your computer and printer and scanner and stereo) into a power strip, you can turn off everything with a flick of the button. This will save on energy consumption, because even when things are turned off, they still suck small amounts of energy (see: phantom or vampire loads).
12. Turn off everything (except your lover). Power strip or not, turn off (or unplug) things when not in use. Turn on your lover in the meantime. After all, the more you’re in bed, the less you’re watching TV, driving somewhere, shopping, etc…
13. Buy local food. It’s good to know where your food comes from. And it’s great to know it traveled 5 miles rather than 500 or 5,000 to get to your table.
14. Buy organic. Pesticides and fertilizers deplete and poison our soil, and our food is ONLY AS GOOD AS THE SOIL IT GROWS IN!
15. Junk junk mail. Start here.
16. Start a vegetable garden. You’ll appreciate food, soil, nature, and compost so much more!
17. Spend time outdoors! And bring your friends and family with you!
18. Take Action! Pay attention to legislation that will benefit the environment, and write your representatives to persuade them to support the environment as well. Collectively we are stronger than ANY lobbying interest!
19. Use your windows first, HVAC second (if at all). Use your blinds to let in or keep out heat. Save the heating or AC for extreme cold or hot weather. And you don’t need it as low or high as you think, so set it two degrees warmer in the summer and 2 degrees colder in the winter.
20. Use natural (plant-based) cleaning products. They clean as well AND keep harmful chemicals out of our houses and out of our drains, thereby keeping the chemicals out of our environment.
21. Say no to bottled water! Use your own re-usable bottle. The plastic in our environment and the chemicals from creating the plastic will wreak havoc for generations to come.
22. Talk to people. Don’t be a nag and don’t brag, but let it be known that you do certain things for the good of the environment. People love to follow the leader. Be the leader. But if it’s too late, then be the follower — this time it’s OK!
By the way the “F” in “F your conveniences” stands for “Forget”. What did you think it stood for???
Let me end this post with a great quote from Mr. Mark Twain:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Photo Credit: livegreencincinatti.com