Life Changes That Help The Environment

by Abigail Knowles Wolfe (BPRW)

Life Changes That Help The Environment
For those of us who grew up with parents schooled in the hippy generation of the 1970’s, caring for the environment and a “tree hugging” mentality may come more naturally than for others. Those raised without these skills in their repertoires may have to do a great deal more research to figure out what it’s all about. With global warming and the price of gasoline constantly rising, African Americans and Americans across the board are starting to pay attention to their action’s effects on the environment. Clean air, nutritious fruits and vegetables and breathtaking nature for future generations to enjoy are more of an issue now than ever before. While it may seem like a hopeless endeavor in a nation so large, there are, in fact, many things each individual can do to help stop the degradation of their own environments. Some of these things are obvious and others may be shocking!

1. Carry your own grocery bags to the store. Only 3% or so of plastic grocery bags are recycled each year, most ending up in a landfill somewhere. These bags take 1000 years to biodegrade! Cloth bags are much easier on the environment not to mention more attractive.
2. Give up beef. The international meat industry produces 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions according to a 2006 report from the United Nations. This is even more than your automobile. Trading you gasoline fueled car for a hybrid vehicle cuts about one ton of carbon monoxide into the environment in a year while cutting back on beef cuts one and a half tons! Besides how many grumpy, out of shape vegetarians do you know?
3. Invest in green energy. Solar panels and personal windmill devices may seem pricy but save a great deal of money in the long run and you won’t be paying those expensive monthly energy bills anymore.
4. Pay your bills online and avoid paper bills that are eventually torn up and thrown away! This also saves paper from envelopes and the use of gasoline for postal carriers hand delivering payments.
5. Live closer to work or work closer to home! Commuters spend hours in traffic each day, adding carbon monoxide to the environment unnecessarily. Forward thinking companies are re-organizing to let employees work from branches closer to their homes.
6. Reduce, reuse, recycle! This slogan was often touted throughout our childhoods yet many people still don’t quite grasp the concept. Trade clothing you no longer want with friends for their unwanted and often nice quality duds. Purchase only paper goods made from recycled products. Recycle all paper, aluminum and plastics.
7. Start a compost pile. My parents always had one of these going throughout my childhood. All naturally biodegradable products, egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels etc. can be mixed with dirt in a designated spot in the backyard to biodegrade and make a great fertilizer to be used for plants and gardens.
8. Carpooling. Need I say more?
9. Support local farmer’s markets and gardeners who practice pesticide-free methods. Food tastes better and is better for you!
10. “Live simply so that others may simply live.” This is a quote from Gandhi adopted by people the world over my parents taught me as a child. Living within or beneath one’s means allows for a comfortable and often times more satisfying lifestyle. Consume less. Take up less space. Do you really need a 9000 square foot home that will cost a fortune to heat and cool? Can more of that money be set aside to help the poor and people struggling with poverty in developing nations?
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