Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb
It’s Earth Day and I am all in. What I mean by “all in” is that I am a concerned citizen of the earth and I try to do my best each and every day to make decisions that reduce the harm I do to it. Do I succeed everyday? Uhm, that’s a big hell no. For instance, some days, I forget my little recyclable bag (the non-lead one) when I race into the supermarket for Edy’s lite ice cream and lite Cool Whip. When I get to the checkout counter realizing my error, I get really mad at myself. I get so mad at myself that I blow my diet by eating half the container of Edy’s light ice cream topped with half the container of lite Cool Whip when I get home ( even just a little self-loathing can lead to really destructive behaviors). I will also admit that sometimes I forget my Dunkin Donuts refill mug and have to buy the coffee in the awful styrofoam cup. However, being a person who is really trying to make a difference, I’ve researched this and found that Dunkin Donuts claims that styrofoam is actually better for the environment than a paper cup as it can be recycled. It also produces less waste when you factor in the use of not only the paper cup but the corresponding double-cupping, paper sleeve and/or napkins that would be necessary to use so that the lava- like Dunkin Donut’s coffee doesn’t cause 3rd degree burns on your hand. But I digress. My point here is that the idea of Earth Day circa 2011 is to realize that we really can do little things to help the environment short of buying electric cars or building wind turbines in our backyards. The other point I want to make is that I need to do a better job of heeding my own calls to action on the matter, and Americans overall need to really wake up to the importance of protecting our planet.
There are some dark days when I read something that makes my blood boil, like another politician or pundit who wants to defund the EPA or once again, tries to deny climate change and the man-made contribution towards it. It makes me so angry that the same politicians who originally agreed that climate change was a clear and present danger were suddenly against it when Al Gore produced An inconvenient Truth (oh Newt Gingrinch, could you PLEASE make up your mind?). Suddenly, it was all a hoax. Pure politics and greed is the engine of climate science denying and it’s galling. It has been proven, beyond reasonable doubts, by such a significant and far-reaching segment of the scientific community that to ignore their warnings is not only disastrous, but criminal. But ignore their warnings we have. Well, not all of us. Just the Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly, Fox News, Palin, Bachmann, Boehner, Cantor and insert the name of any other right-winger who supports corporations over people crowd. How about those Koch brothers who fund every climate denier they can get their
money hands on. It’s so cute when they trot out their “studies” from certain scientists who are funded by, you got it–oil and coal companies– who say that climate change is suspect or not influenced by man. Oh that’s rich. It reminds me of those bygone days when cigarette companies were “funding studies” that concluded that cigarettes were no more a cancer threat than eating carrots while hopping on one foot. Oh boy, everybody smoke ’em if ya got ’em! Or how about the car companies who cried that no one would ever, ever, EVER, be able to afford a new car if air-bags were made a mandatory feature in cars. Yeah, I think only 4 or 5 new cars have rolled off the lot since then, right? But then again, it’s no surprise that republicans are in denial about the whole climate-change thing when you consider that in a recent study, it was shown that there was a huge difference in the numbers of republicans who believed in “climate change” but not “global warming”. Whaaaat??? That’s like believing in Santa Clause but not believing in a big, fat, jolly, man wearing a red-suit from the North Pole who slides down the chimney with presents on Christmas Eve and leaves them for little children who have been good all year long. Lord give me strength.
I will continue to do my part to be a good steward to the earth, as flawed as I am sometimes. I really do try like heck to conserve water and energy. I don’t let the water run when brushing my teeth and I have purchased a washer and dryer which use the least amount of water and energy possible, which set me back a pretty penny (close to the cost of one semester at Princeton I believe). Additionally I have finally convinced my husband that it is really not necessary to use 45 gallons of water to remove a little sand from an area the size of a bath mat from our patio. That’s what brooms are for, darling. I do try to keep my thermostat as low as humanly possible which is no small task when you have a teenager who insists that 80 degrees in a home is “freezing”. I try to buy organic food and buy locally as much as my budget will allow. I have changed my supplier of electricity to one who uses renewable energy as part of their package. I have switched to energy-saving lightbulbs and try to unplug as many things as I can when they are not in use (that includes my treadmill which, let’s face it, hasn’t really been plugged in since last Groundhog’s Day). I still need to do more– much more– and be much more consistent. But that is pretty much the story of my life. My intentions are usually good, but my execution can often be flawed. Kind of like our country. We need to educate ourselves and make the right choices in our daily lives. That includes pressuring our leaders to make the right decisions for the right reasons and not let the lobbyists for big business, big energy, or big polluters write legislation to gut the agencies that try to protect our health and environment, or pull the strings so that their client’s bottom lines are protected. I want my bottom line protected. Neither time nor ignorance are luxuries we have.
- Earth Day post: How to solve climate change (sfgate.com)