Every time I gaze through the windows of my house and see the lush green lawns and clear blue skies, I get such a feeling of complete serenity. As I drive through quiet streets of town, I slow down for squirrels scampering across roads or catch a glimpse of a cottontail running from yard to yard looking for its next meal. I’ll hear birds chirping in the trees and watch them, wondering just what it is they are saying to each other. Our earth is quite beautiful, and there is so much to see and learn about our place of inhabitance if we take the time. But we also have to put in the effort to keep our planet beautiful.
There are many simple things we can do to help save our planet from a destruction that is mostly manmade. In my own way, I’ve already started to change the way I live. Every light bulb in my home has been converted to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFLs can last up to 10 years, which is ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. They now sell various types of CFLs – soft light, bright light and daylight – in different wattages, and CFLs are safe and use less energy than old light bulbs.
I live in an area where recycling is not mandatory, yet I recycle all plastic, metal and glass containers. The only things I haven’t recycled are the plastic bags from stores. I reuse those bags to line small waste baskets in the bathroom and bedrooms, for cleaning up my dog’s mess outside, and for pulling weeds. Many grocery stores have bins outside their doors where one can deposit torn plastic bags to be recycled, which I will start to do now.
Unwanted household items, such as old chairs, sofas, beds, etc., can be donated to charities like Goodwill and The Purple Heart (which will actually pick-up at curbside). Goodwill Industries employs people to repair broken furniture and appliances which they then resell to the public. They provide inexpensive household items to those less fortunate, plus they provide employment to thousands of people across the country.
I saw a commercial stating that the number of used water bottles consumed in the U.S., when placed end to end, could surround the earth 39 times. It is such a waste, not to mention the pollution involved. I gave up bottled water several years ago and installed a water filter on my kitchen sink. I use the filter for cooking and to fill a reusable drinking container. The water filter system was only $50. Filter refills cost $10 every four months. So, after the initial cost of the filter, my water consumption costs me only $30 per year, compared to what I had been paying for bottled water – $96 per year.
We can recycle batteries, especially nickel-cadmium batteries that contain toxins, by taking them to certain stores having recycle programs, like electronics and home improvement stores. Both frames and glass or plastic lenses from eyeglasses can be recycled by taking them to opticians, who then donate them to the Lions Club to be recycled. I have several old pairs of glasses I no longer use, and will bring them to my optician next week.
To cut down on paper waste, I found an online site to cut down on junk mail being delivered to my mailbox. You can log on to www.directmail.com/junk-mail . Click on “National Do Not Mail List” to fill out the form and be removed from unwanted solicitors lists.
I’m not an experienced gardener, but this year I’ll try growing tomatoes. In the past I purchased produce from a grocery store and local produce stands. This year, I plan on going to more local produce stands and farmers markets.
Earlier this year, I paid one of my electric bills online and found the electric company had a “Home Analyzer” section where you can find out how to make your home run more efficiently. I answered a list of questions and the results showed I’m doing what I can to conserve energy in a home I am only renting. Several weeks later, I received a package from the electric company that contained five new CFL bulbs, a special CFL night light, and two surge protectors. If I owned my own home, I would have received assistance in adding insulation and some assistance with a water heater.
I also found a site where you can find out what your carbon footprint is and what you can do to lower it. Just go to www.carbonfootprint.com, register and answer some questions. My carbon footprint is 12.65 metric tons, a little lower than the national average of 20.4 metric tons. However, the average worldwide carbon footprint is only 4 metric tons per year. That tells me I still need to make more changes.
This world we live in can continue to be beautiful and can sustain human life as long as we don’t take it for granted. We may not have to worry about it when we are gone, but our children, grandchildren and their children may not have this beautiful earth to gaze upon in their futures. Just look at the sky above, the vast fields, snow covered mountains or the lakes and oceans. Shouldn’t we do our best to ensure that future generations enjoy what we have enjoyed?