As Earth Day approaches, I am forced to think about what that means to me, since I took this article from the assignment board. For those of you who don’t know, Earth Day is April 22, 2011. I’ll admit that I had to look it up, and I don’t really feel bad about it. Well actually, I do feel kind of silly, since the date is contained in the assignment text. Still, I decided that doing something is better than nothing, and that I should at least make an attempt to reduce my “carbon footprint.” I am already doing most of these things, as I am not completely unaware of the state of the planet, but I will include them so you can get the entire picture.
Recycling. Of course I recycle. I recycle all things glass, plastic, aluminum, tin, and newspaper. I even pull recyclables out of the trash that have been placed there by the other person that lives in the house with me (my husband). I recycle the twenty copies of the Yellow Pages and its competitions’ publications that I receive every year. I also recycle gifts that I don’t really want; no, wait, that’s re-gifting.
Gas Guzzling. We own three American made vehicles, and they all have HEMI engines in them. All three of them are huge gas-guzzlers. However, my husband works from home and I am currently unemployed, so we are not driving any of our vehicles much at all, except for the errands that I have to run around town. I combine my errands so that I make one trip instead of several. I shop at shopping centers that have all the stores I need to visit in one trip. We are also considering, with the emphasis on considering, trading one of our current vehicles for a more eco-friendly car. I figure that with as little driving as we do, we are ok for now. We do indeed own gas-guzzlers, but we don’t drive them much.
Reusable Shopping Bags. I’m still not convinced that these are a good solution. I have several of them, and they are dirt cheap, so I’m sure I could buy a few more and have enough to do my weekly grocery shopping. The issue that I have with these bags is that they are being found to have a high content of lead in them. I must say that I was not surprised to learn that most of these types of bags are made in China, who apparently must put lead in everything they export to us. Whenever I see the bags in stores I look at the tags and have yet to personally find any that are not made in China. It has been shown that the bags break down over time, releasing the potentially deadly heavy metal, and potentially exposing shoppers to lead poisoning. So for now, I use the plastic bags from the grocery store, and I recycle them with the rest of my recyclable plastics.
Weed Control. I love to grow flowers in the summer, and I spend a lot of time maintaining my flowerbeds. In years past, I have used chemicals to kill and control the weeds in my flowerbeds and around my landscaping. Last summer, I used only minimal chemical weed control, pulling most of the weeds, especially those in my beds, by hand. I noticed that last summer’s flowers were the most beautiful that I have ever grown yet, and I can’t prove this, but it may have something to do with not using chemical weed control around them. So this summer, I will again use minimal chemical weed control, and either pull up or dig up all of my weeds whenever possible. Let’s face it, some weeds just need killing.
Electricity. Okay, I’ve been guilty in the past of leaving my phone charger plugged in all the time, but like I said, that was the past. I walk around the house several times a day, turning off lights that have been left on, lowering the heat (you can read about why I do that here) and unplugging small appliances and other things that are not in use. In addition to saving electricity, this also saves us money, and who doesn’t love that?
So there you have it in a nutshell. I’m doing pretty well with my New Year’s resolutions, so I should be able to handle a few more for good ole Mother Earth, and since I’m already doing a lot of these things it should be relatively painless for me.