Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day message - belated

Yeah...this is a belated Earth Day post, but the Pens game went into triple overtime, so...

You shouldn't have to be reminded to not maul the Earth on a specific day. That's something that should be in the back of your mind each day. I'm sure the Earth Day organizers loved the image of an oil rig a) burning b) sinking into the Gulf of Mexico and c) discharging millions of gallons of crude into a slick that is 5 square miles. Happy Earth Day!

My message to you is a simple one. You don't need to plant 6 hectares of sustainable hardwood or complete an irrigation project in the Sudan. It's the little things that you can easily do every day to make the world a slightly better place than when you got it....that's the whole goal - incremental changes.

1. When you go to the grocery store, take your own re-usable cloth bags. They hold a lot more than the plastic ones do and they are sturdy. If you do get the plastic bags, re-use them before you discard them. I keep some on hand as garbage bags for the little trash baskets in my bathrooms. If you have a dog, there's your doggie "by-product" bag.

2. If you cook at home, go to farmers' markets when available and buy locally grown food otherwise. There is no difference from the tomato shipped from California or Chile, as opposed to the one from Evans City. Except for the huge amounts of fuel it took to get it there from non-local places. Try to grow your own "recession garden" of herbs and vegetables if you have the time and space. Fresh basil that you pick yourself is delicious.

3. If you eat out, stop going to the national chains. Support the local businesses, the ones that only have one restaurant and the chef himself is in the back cooking the food. The local Pittsburgh food scene is very lively nowadays, with restaurants of all price ranges out there. Get out of your food rut and try a new, local restaurant. It's good for the economy.

4. Don't shop at Wal-Mart. Kind of the same principle as above, but with Wal-Mart on a much more insiduous scale. Go shop at the locally owned stores and don't feed the 1000-pound elephant in the room. The quality of the goods is not as good and Wal-Mart has beaten up the purchase price from the vendor so badly that Wal-Mart is actually bad for our economy.

5. If you can do it, walk to work or take mass transit at least once a week. Every little bit helps in terms of reducing the amount of vehicles and pollution out there. This one isn't feasible for everyone, I know, but if you can do it the exercise you get is great and you feel a little bit better about your carbon footprint.

6. Don't litter. This one seems easy, but as you drive along the roadways, you are usually subjected to a stream of trash. It doesn't grow there, it's put there. By pigs that can't wait until they get to their destination and find a trash can that is most likely as soon as they step out the car. I used to be friends with a guy who reveled in littering as we drove around, even though he knew it burned me up. He just didn't care about it at all and wouldn't even change his viewpoint when I was with him. That's just one of a multitude of reasons that I'm no longer friends with that guy. Back to the original point - littering is childish. Even better, pick up a piece or two of litter as you walk around and help the idiots who think the world is their trash can.

So there you have it. Six easy things you can do to keep this blue marble of ours spinning freely around the bright yellow ball in the sky.

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