Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What can I do?

I have spent a good portion of my life lobbying and educating others about all things environmental. I have argued with politicians about the foolish things they do at the expense of the health and well being of humans and other life. Several countless hours. I have since become less active, no more lobbying and political campaigning. No. Not any more. That is best left to those folks with the free time to commit to that vocation. I just haven't the time to physically trek to DC on a consistent basis.

So what do I do?

Little things. For example:
I write letters to politicians. Lots of letters. The trick? Pick one or two topics (maybe even three) that are dear to you. If you write in on every thing then your concerns will appear to be watered down due to your excessive (to politicians) need to fight for all issues. You want to keep your focus too. It's easy to be taken off track by the next cause. For me water pollution has been my passion. I favor this for several reasons and often support many aspects of this cause.

I choose to walk or bike to places close to home.

I cook whole foods when possible. We use limited processed products.

I recycle. We are hard core here. Everything paper, all metals, all glass, and most plastics.

I use cloth sacks at the stores. Not just the grocery. I generally bring one everywhere. I have grown immune to the confused stares.

I plant native species in my gardens.

I buy local produce, meats, and other products when possible.

I support local businesses.

I pick up litter. Really I do. I typically have a plastic sack on me when I'm out just in case there is trash on the ground. We always bring one on hikes and clean up trails too.

My list can go on. There are everyday things you can do that are beneficial to your world. There are so many creative ways to do good. I have a goal list of things I'd like to do to benefit even more. For one we'd like to have rain barrels to collect rain water for watering our garden this summer. I'd like to have a gray water system set up within the house. We have plans for a compost bin. I'm eying a counter top version which will be great once the one outside becomes part of our life.

So...what do you do?

4 comments :

Sydney said...

I live in Portland.

Sydney said...

Okay, haha! Yes, tongue in cheek. Um, we recycle and buy local products, use cloth bags, support local business. Of course it's much less impressive as Portland makes that very easy. The Giant-equivalent across the street (but so so much better - Go Fred Meyer!) sells local fruits, vegetables and meats. We have a huge farmer's market community and curbside recycling. The city controls some non-native plants - there's a list of trees you can plant in your parking strip. There's an extra wide street in NE Portland with a tree-studded median that has at least one of each available tree, a little arboretum so you can see how they look. The city keeps adding mass transit and bike lanes. The urban growth boundary keeps the population from spreading too badly. So maybe less tongue in cheek: living in Portland is it's own environmental statement as compared to living in Silver Spring. So you should totally move out here! We'll hang out! I'll make finger puppets for your girls! You can go hiking in the biggest urban park in the country (Washington Park - it's a forest pretty much in downtown Portland)! We'll go to Powell's, the largest independent bookstore in the country! Weeeeee!

No, I'm not on the city's payroll. But I should be! ;)

Mo said...

I am trying very hard to use cloth bags and I recycle as much as I can. I also would love a grey water system (even just collect water from our showers to use to flush). Ideally I would like to change all our toilets and shower heads to low flow but we're not sure how much longer we'll be in this house. The dreams I have of building an earth ship...
I also would LOVE to buy a ZENN car (they're currently illegal in my province - I'm writing letters) or at least find a pedal-powered snow cycle. I'm keeping my bike trailer with plans to cycle to/from the grocery store. I'm trying but I have a lot more to do.

Yvonne said...

Sydney I would LOVE to move out to Portland. So love to! But, uhh, well, maybe in a few years. So glad you and Pete are doing all those great things and live in such a super awesome-o town. BTW I order books from Powell's they rock!

Mo That's great you are using cloth bags. I started out slow but in no time it became always. I'm just glad that I don't have so many sacks stuffed under the kitchen sink anymore. That was almost too crazy. The Zenn! Yes they are neat. I'd like an electric car too. Maybe our next one will be something like a Zenn. I'm going to ride my bike to the store now. The cold and ice have passed so it should be a go....well that and me being fit enough to drag a 100#s of stuff home. ;-)