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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day, 2008!

Our Mother, planet Earth, is elderly and abused.
Our home, planet Earth, needs our help.

"But, what can I do?"


*Yeah, I realise this post does not give you something to laugh at or something to waste time playing with - I'm actually asking you do do something - but, this is as much for you as it is for me... so isn't it worth it?*

Happy Earth Day! I know everyone (who lives in a country celebrating Earth Day today) is doing what they can today to make our Earth a better place (planting trees, etc), but what about every other day of the year?
I spent some time searching the web for things we can do, with minimal effort, to help keep Mother Earth happy and healthy and came up with a pretty large list. What I want you, the reader, to keep in mind is that we don't have to do every single thing on a "how-to-be-'green'" check-list, but every little bit helps. We live in a society of instant gratification, so it can be hard for us to see the impact we make if the results don't come automatically, but it's crucial for us to realise the little things do count. Think of "the butterfly effect" (no, not the movie); a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon forest can cause a major storm in a completely different part of the world. So, it would be rather silly to say that one person cannot make an impact on the Earth.

Here's what we can do to help!

  • Plant a tree, or start your garden!
  • Buy local (think of the energy it takes to get something from China to Canada!)
  • Buy organic (not only is it better for you, the lack of pesticides is better for the Earth)
  • When shopping, say no to plastic & use your own bags (many stores even offer "green-bags" now)
  • Put down the cling-wrap - purchase some wax paper instead, which is biodegradable, or use re-usable containers for saving left-overs/bring food to or from a dinner party.
  • Don't buy your young children fancy coloured paper - check with your local newspaper to see if they save the ends of their paper rolls (which they generally give away for free), make your own paper, or best yet - give them scrap paper from the office, old newspapers and flyers, or use the backside of old documents. Children really don't care what they're drawing on, as long as they can draw! And, use both sides of any piece of paper you use.
  • Don't buy bottled water! For one thing, recent studies are showing bottled water to be no healthier than tap water. Instead, purchase a re-useable drinking bottle or thermos. If you must drink bottled water, purchase a large amount and re-fill your re-usable bottle.
  • Purchase some compact flourescent bulbs - they last longer anyway!
  • When doing the weekend beer-run (or root-beer run if you're under-age!), snip the little rings on the 6-pack holders - little critters really do get caught in these and it's not a nice thing to see. :-(
  • Purchase some re-chargeable batteries and use the plug-in when possible.
  • Buy in bulk (you'll save packaging). Also, if you're stuck between two brands, try the one with less packaging
  • When finished with clothing, donate it - don't throw it out.
  • Instead of paper towel, use an old t-shirt/towel/pair of underwear.
  • Use less disposable products (none, ideally) - cotton diapers, metal razors, etc
  • Keep a compost container in the kitchen to make composting less of a hassle.
  • Spend the extra money if the product is longer-lasting and more durable - you may find you're saving in the long-run.
  • Use latex paint rather than oil-based and rinse brushes in the sink rather than outside (groundwater might become contaminated)
  • If you feel the need to kill insects, don't use "Raid" (or whatever they call it), but spray them with soapy water. Keep in mind though, some insects may prevent worse insects from bugging ya!
  • Use a kettle to boil water as it uses less energy than a pot on the stovetop.
  • Do NOT release helium balloons outside, as they cause suffocation or starvation in animals by blocking the stomach or airways. Plus, metallic balloons can cause a power outage if they get caught in power lines.
  • Can't find a recycling bin for you bottled/canned beverage? Leave it on top of, or beside, a garbage can rather than in it - someone less privliged may come along and recycle it for the money.
  • "Reduce-Reuse-Recycle"
  • and, Don't Litter! This goes for smokers, especially (or gum-chewers) - carry a small, portable ashtray for your cigarette butts (or make sure they're completely out before putting them in the garbage) and put your finished gum in the garbage. Also, if people aren't shuffling through a sea of cigarette butts, they may be less hostile towards smokers! :-)

Don't feel like you have to do every single thing on this list, or any other, to be considered "Green". If we over-whelmed ourselves by thinking we had to do it all, none of it would happen. Every little bit counts!

I leave you all with a great little video I found on YouTube, posted by "gwstv"

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