Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day and You

Happy Earth Day! It's a great day to go outside and enjoy a beautiful world. It is also a great day to recommit to doing your share to preserve what we have. It's a space ship and it is the only home we have. We depend on it for everything and we have nowhere else to go. Our beautiful planet has taken lots of abuse from us but still manages to to feed and clothe us. However time is running out and she is rapidly losing the ability to absorb the massive damage we are doing to her on a daily basis.

It is really not hard to make some changes in your life that will have a positive impact on our beautiful world. Just three little changes can make a big difference if we all rethink the way we go about our lives.

Here are three ways you can make a difference.

Stop using plastic in every way you can. 

I know it's everywhere but we all know it is bad. Americans alone dispose of 10.5 million tons of plastic garbage every year, and about 8% of the world's annual oil production is used toward the creation of plastic products.  That plastic soda or water bottle you so casually throw in the trash can hang around in a landfill for a thousand years. Even if you are a good citizen and recycle your plastic most of it is 'downcycled' and it doesn't really reduce the demand for new plastic. Not only does plastic use energy but thanks to our horrible plastic habits there are huge islands of plastic trash in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans that are killing millions of sea creatures every year.  Each American uses about 190 pounds of plastic every year and you can imagine the change if we can eliminate a big chunk of that.

Eat more vegetables and a lot less meat.

According to the United Nations meat production is responsible for around 18% of global CO2 emissions. Estimates are that it takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef and livestock waste pollutes mare than 27,000 miles of U.S. rivers according to the EPA. Individually, you can make a big difference if you just cut out a few meals of meat each week and huge change by going vegetarian. Even if you just try and buy grass fed beef and naturally raised chicken and pork you will put a big dent in the damage caused by industrial meat production.

Plant a garden and grow your own vegetables and/or buy locally produced vegetables and fruit.

The food sold in American supermarkets has to travel an average of 1,500 miles to get from the farm to your plate. Buying locally not only supports your local economy, but cuts out the massive amounts of energy used to store and transport the products across the world. Buy your food in season and forgo buying that fruit from New Zealand or Chile in the dead of winter. It can actually be a lot of fun and a challenge to grow your own or buy food from within 150 miles or so. I get a huge amount of fun and exercise from my vegetable garden and absolutely nothing beats vegetables and fruit you grow yourself. You don't have to have an acre of land to grow vegetable either. There are varieties of tomato, cucumber, squash, lettuce and other vegetables that grow perfectly well in containers on your porch or in a small bed in the backyard.

This Earth Day think about making some changes and now is the perfect time to start a summer vegetable plot. Even if you only put in a couple of tomato plants it will make a difference.

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