Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day 2011: "Mind Your Mother!"

As you may know, Earth Day was yesterday, April 22, 2011.  I spent the majority of the day working on projects around the house and got a good amount of things done.  It was a good Friday.  It was also Good Friday.   I also took it upon myself to inundate the FaceBooks with posts and videos about the Earth/Earth Day/Recycling/Littering.  My mother later in the day posted the comment: 
‘Missie, you have single-handedly provided enough Earth-saving info today to "save the Earth" with just your words - if only everybody would listen and just do it!! You go girl!!’
To which I responded:
 ‘Thanks, Mom! If ONE PERSON listens and joins's worth it to me! ;)’

And this is so true.  It made me decide to post this blog about it.  Because…why not?  I don’t expect everyone to take the time to look at all of my comments/posts/blogs about anything in general, let alone when they are swamped with a bunch of links and info on recycling and environmental awareness.  But, we are all in this together!  It is OUR world!  We all can do our part!  Every little thing counts.  All of the cliché sayings are true!  If I can turn on ONE PERSON to recycling or just being aware that they have a carbon footprint---it is worth it.  If someone sees something I post and later they take the time to give it a second thought when they are tossing some garbage out of their car window because of a silly video I posted about littering?  Yeah, that is worth it to me.

Check out this video from Greenpeace!  Are your hands helping or hurting?

I am personally an avid recycler; our household recycles and composts most of what we are able.  We are not the perfect zero waste home by any means, but we try to do what we can and are always looking for new ways to be greener.  We want our hands to help more than they hurt and to at least be aware of and try to control the carbon footprint we are leaving.  For our wedding, for example, I reused old green, brown, and clear (painted blue) glass bottles for centerpieces to hold wild flowers.  We used 100% compostable Chinet plates.  The invitations and favor boxes were all made out of 100% recycled paper.  I used natural twine and hemp for a lot of decorations/favors.  Every little bit counts!  It was a very “themed” yet different wedding, but it was a wonderful day that still made a point. 

"Each person influences the next; you have more pull than you think."

REMEMBER:  All newspaper, scrap paper, and cardboard can be recycled at most community drop offs/recycling centers.  All clear glass, tin, and aluminum are generally accepted at most drop offs as well.  #1 and #2 plastics can be recycled at select drop offs.  Check in your local area!  Some communities have curb side pick up for recyclables for a small fee.  Some places offer recycling along with their garbage service.  We don’t have this in our area, but I think even a small fee would be worth it, as our sorting and dropping off can be somewhat of a chore.  We usually only drop off every so often and have large garbage cans we fill with separated recyclables behind our shed.  I think that opting for pick up would be helpful if you have limited space.  Start to recycle what you can from your trash, ESPECIALLY PLASTIC, and you will be AMAZED at how it cuts back your trash output.  Now think of it in the grand scheme of things.  Logically we can assume that same percentage or ratio of the whole world’s trash sent to landfills could be decreased as well!  Experiment.  Try it.   If you burn your garbage, this helps cut back immensely on what ends up in your barrel/on your pile.  If you have garbage pick up, you will be sending way less to the land fill!  Try to think…where does something REALLY go when we toss it in the garbage?  We say "throw it away"...but where is "away"? 

If you do nothing else, here are 3 small ways you can make a difference:  Take a shorter shower; set back your thermostat 2 degrees; and recycle! [The Green Book, Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen].

"Eat your dinner.  There are starving children in other countries that would love to have that food!"  What your parents always told you was true.  Another big way you can help the cause is to try not to waste so much food.  Waste not, want not.  Some people are starving---so finish what you got!

 "If you could reduce the amount of food wasted in your household by just 25 grams per day (about the weight of a slice of bread), you'd save 20 pounds of food annually---roughly enough to make sixteen meals. If all U.S. households reduced their food waste by this amount, the savings would be enough to provide three meals per day for a whole year to each of the 1.34 million children in the U.S. who are homeless." [The Green Book]
You can also donate to the cause with a monetary donation!  Just like with the Red Cross text donations, you can donate a mere $5 via text to the Green World Campaign.  This organization plants trees in forests over the world.  You can text “TREE” to 85944 to donate $5 to the Green World Campaign to plant five trees in damaged forests!!
Let’s talk light bulbs!  Simply opting for CFL's can save money and carbon output.  Simple, right?  The GREEN BOOK says it is as simple as this: 
"If every American home changed out just 5 regular light fixtures or the bulbs in them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent ones, we'd keep more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of our air---equal to the emissions of eight million cars. That's $6 billion in energy savings for Americans."
These bulbs are a little different color of light, but you get used to them.  We use these in our house.  My dad actually gave us a huge pack of them for Christmas one year!  The gift that keeps on giving!  He has been using these in his house since the early 90s.  I personally find them to be brighter.  They last incredibly longer while using fewer watts. 
‎"...(twenty-seven-watt compact fluorescent bulbs replace seventy-five-watt incandescent bulbs; eighteen-watt fluorescent bulbs replace sixty-watt incandescent bulbs.) For each twenty-seven-watt compact fluorescent light bulb you'll get carbon emissions savings of 140 pounds per year and save $12.00. For each eighteen-watt compact fluorescent light bulb, you'll get carbon emission savings of 110 pounds per year and save $9.50."

Stay informed!  Educate yourself on ways you can make a small impact and we can all work together to do the right thing for Mother Earth!  We’re all in this together, folks!  Give a shit!  Do something!  Don't toss it, sort it.  Turn off your lights.  Unplug unused appliances.  Use a clothes line!  There are tons of simple ways you can all make a difference and do your part along with me in your own way!  Let's try to work with the Earth and not against it.  

Helpful Resources:

Earth 911 is just an overall great site for information!

The Greenworld Campaign is a good organization that plants trees!  Trees are beautiful; I find them to be one of the most awesome things in existence.  Our world needs them to provide oxygen and strengthen the soil.  Donate $5 and they will plant 5 trees!

This is a very good concise breakdown of what can be recycled and can’t.
The World's Shortest Comprehensive Recycling Guide

This is a great site to look up your local recycling centers!
Recycling Center Search

This is an excellent book actually put together by Kohl’s Cares for Kids.  It is full of a lot of statistics and examples on ways to go green and help with personal stories from different celebrities telling how they make a difference:
The Green Book:  The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen

And don't forget to spread the word!  Get on someone you know that litters.  Post a blog of your own!  Spread the message.  Each person influences the next; you have more pull than you think.  And remember, you are speaking your voice when buying recycled/natural/organic products.  Shopping is voting!  Use your voice wisely.  

Your Fellow Human, Sister on Earth, and Partner in the Cause,
Missie Sue

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