Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social, and spiritual consequences. It is time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions that underlie our lifestyles. –David Suzuki
Many times when you read lists on how to save the earth such as these, it has the overtone as if spoken from some tree hugging, barefoot walking hippy.
But I would like to offer up a different reason to try and save our planet. Really, there are only two reasons for it. One being to make our own quality of life better while we live, which is indeed important. But the other, and more important aspect, is solely for the sake of posterity.
We had a chance to experience this world as it is, and for that we should be thankful. So thankful, that we should attempt to preserve it as best we can so that future generations can garner the same appreciation for it as we have.
On a side note, neither this planet nor our any other in existence will remain as it is indefinitely. Everything ends in due time, but in the meantime, we have the fortunate pleasure to experience life and all of its joys and sorrows. Not to mention, that if we upset the balance of our world too much, the planter being a living organism itself in a sense, will simply shake us off like a bad case of the fleas. Perhaps issuing another great freeze over the planet to rid itself of its humanly nuisance. It’s happened before, and will happen again. But we should be sure to not hurry that along, otherwise we will have more problems to worry over than NOx emission being let loose into our air, or chemical pollutants being dumped into our waterways.
Point being, the planet is our home, and is only so because the earth itself allows for it.
Things might be more difficult for us as well as inconvenient if we have to do the things that will be outlined in this list, but it’s far better than the alternative. Not to mention, your grandchildren will thank you, even though you won’t know and maybe neither will they, for having a clean and pristine place to live, unmarred by ignorance, neglect, and selfishness. If the earths populace as a whole finally learns that we do indeed have a tremendous impact on this world even as individuals, than collectively, we can make great change. So much so that even large corporations who are known to do great harm to the environment, will have to fall in line. Otherwise they’ll be admonished and shunned by the rest of us, forcing them to either change or go out of business. With that rant said and done, and without further ado, here is a quick list of 5 areas where every person can make a difference, even a small one.
It’s well known that the means by which we transport ourselves has a large impact on our environment. Both due to the fuel being consumed to propel us, by even more by the material needed to create such devices. If you do need a vehicle of your own, consider using one that is used, smaller in size, and/or more fuel efficient. Avoid flying if possible, and if a vacation is in order, try doing something closer to home. If at all able, walk and bike where ever possible and if it is too far, try using public transportation.
We all love shiny and new things, but it takes a lot to create such items.
From wood to plastic, and metal, each item we use is made up from something that was once in the earth, and those resources can certainly not last forever. For many items, purchasing second hand or used goods is a great alternative. Antique furniture is often cheaper, of better quality, and has much more character than anything you can purchase from Ikea. Clothes may be one of those things where you cannot find it acceptable to buy used, and that is fine. But if you look in your closet and see things you have not considered wearing for over a year, donate it. Let it actually be put to good use, and help someone out who cannot afford, or care to purchase, brand new clothes. Not to mention let us not forget that you can make many things needed yourself, if only you forced yourself to do it. This also helps as a creative outlet, and though most of us won’t admit it, arts and crafts is indeed enjoyable.
Your home is one of the main culprits for increasing any person’s ecological footprint.
The chemicals used in cleaning products, lights running all throughout the house, poor insulation forcing you to use more energy to either heat up or cool down, and the list goes on. For cleaning, your grandma used nothing more than baking soda and hot water, and her house was clean as a whistle. Ensure your home us properly insulated, both in the walls and ceiling, but also for windows and spaces where air can enter and exit. If purchasing new appliances, make them as energy efficient as possible. The same goes for lighting, try to use low energy light bulbs and don’t leave your house lit up like a Christmas tree for 12 hours a day. If you want to take it back a century or so, try using candles more often. Light is light, no matter how you receive it.
Your diet, sadly, not only affects your health directly, but also has at times terrible consequences upon our environment.
I am not a proponent of being a vegetarian, as after all, meat is delicious. But you certainly don’t need to eat it every day with every meal. Not to mention being conscious of where the meat came from helps. But the same goes for vegetables, which also impact our environment negatively if done in an improper manner. For instance, if you love soy, realize that in the first seven years of this century alone, close to 20 million hectares of Rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon were cut down. Granted it wasn’t all entirely due to soy alone, but our want for it certainly played a part. It’s important to remember that too much of anything is bad, moderation is the key to everything if it being sustained is to be expected. Lastly, processed foods are many times delicious, but it’s really hard to consider it to be real food. Rarely is it healthy, and the effort it takes to make weighs heavy on our earth as well as on our health.
Finally comes the big word, recycle.
I’ve known people to be against recycling just out of sheer hatred for the typical earth loving type that tried to push it down their throat, as well as out of sheer laziness.
But in the end it isn’t hard, rather than putting one piece of trash in one receptacle, you’re simply putting it in another. Of course you can recycle your typical items such as glass, plastics, and paper. But you can also recycle old items rather than tossing them out by creating something new from them. Or in the least, you can recycle by having a yard sale, or throwing old items up on craigslist or even giving them away. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and it is a shame to send everything that was once made to the landfill because your use of it has ended. Not to mention, there is often still value left in used items. So you’re not only throwing away items that could still be used, you’re throwing away money.
In The End
In the end, if you read this and the list seems too long or too much trouble to follow through with in its entirety, just do one thing. Anything is better than nothing, and it’s understood that change our lifestyle is often hard, just take into account your new year’s resolutions and see how many of those have been fulfilled. So if it seems daunting, just take your baby steps, and make slight changes in how you live as you live.
Every change, no matter how small, makes a big difference when you think of how long we live and how often we do many of the same activities. Things add up, and with over 7 billion people on this planet, it should be easy to understand why. Live long and prosperous people, and allow the earth and it’s future inhabitants do the same.
The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. I simply try to use reason and logic in my everyday living and thinking and hope to share that with those who care to hear it. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @JakabokBotch. Pollution is indeed an issue, regardless of whether you are concerned or not, and if you are interested in NOx Reduction either out of pure interest, or to implement into your business, do yourself a favor and check out aerinox-inc.com.