Everyone who knows me¬†understands¬†that I am passionate about climate change. ¬†I truly believe it is the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced. ¬†And we must deal with it for the sake of all we hold dear–our children and grandchildren, all the other species with whom we share our earth, even for the sake of civilization itself.
This month’s posting is different from what I normally post, in that I am asking ¬†for your help. ¬†In a few days I will dunk myself in the Mediterranean Sea at Tel Aviv, Israel! ¬†And I will be doing so to raise needed funds for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).
Every January, CCAN gathers dozens¬†of¬†crazy, committed climate¬†activists at National Harbor, outside Washington, DC, for a plunge into the cold, cold Potomac River. ¬† All of the ‘plungers’ raise money for CCAN’s climate change-fighting work by inviting friends and family to sponsor their plunge with a donation to CCAN.
I have participated in CCAN’s Polar Bear Plunge five times before and have been able to raise well over $10,000 to fund CCAN’s work throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. ¬†
But this year my husband and I will be¬†in Israel on the day of CCAN’s Plunge, so I assumed I would have to miss out. ¬†And while¬†I didn’t exactly mind missing a dip in numbingly cold water, I did mind foregoing a chance to raise money for the organization called by international climate leader Bill McKibben “the most effective regional climate action group in the world.“
Then it occurred to me that I could still participate! ¬†I’ll just jump into a different body of water on a different continent! ¬†The CCAN staff is up for my participating at a distance, so I am planning to take my plunge into the–I hope–warmer waters of the Mediterranean. ¬†
I can honestly think of no better way to address climate change than to raise money for CCAN. ¬†With Trump poised to undo the progress we’ve made on¬†climate at the federal level, many climate activists believe we¬†must redouble our efforts at the state and regional levels. ¬†I agree.
And even for people who do not live in the mid-Atlantic region, a donation to CCAN makes sense. ¬†CCAN has helped expand renewable energy, has stood up to those who want to build fracked-gas pipelines, and has educated many, many people throughout the region. ¬†Besides, given the global nature of climate change, effective action anywhere benefits all of us everywhere.
So. ¬†I earnestly invite you to sponsor my upcoming march into the Mediterranean! ¬†Please help make CCAN’s work even more effective. ¬†If you ¬†click on my fundraising page below, you can donate to CCAN, easily and quickly.
For a great many of us, our dog or cat is a dear companion. ¬†
How we care for our pet matters, for the animal’s well-being, of course, and also for the well-being of our planet. ¬†One way our pets impact the environment is through their waste–that’s right, poop. ¬†Our nation’s dogs and cats produce more than six million tons of it a year! ¬†And there are pathogens in these dogs’ and cats’ feces that are transmissible to humans and wildlife.
Dog poop can contain E. coli, Salmonella, Giardia, roundworm, and more. ¬†But cat poop is much worse. ¬†It can contain a parasite called Toxoplasma¬†gondii, a pathogen associated in humans with miscarriages, fatal food poisoning, encephalitis, and even¬†schizophrenia, scientists say. ¬†Toxo is common in urban and suburban soils, where house cats use flowerbeds as litter boxes.
Toxo is also very harmful to wildlife. ¬†In the 1990s, a mysterious die-off of sea otters off the California coast turned out to have been caused by toxoplasmosis. ¬†The parasite could have reached the otters through runoff from the land and also through the flushing of cat poop down the toilet. ¬†While sewage treatment kills many pathogens, it unfortunately does not reliably kill¬†toxo. ¬†Scientists attribute about 16% of current sea¬†otter deaths to¬†toxo.
Toxo has spread through the oceans and has been found in dolphins, walruses, beluga whales, and even polar bears. ¬†The health consequences to these animals is not known.
So how can you manage your dog’s or cat’s ‘output’ in¬†ways that do not harm humans and other animals? ¬†Audubon¬†writer Susan McGrath recommends the following:
FOR DOG OWNERS:
Check online to learn what your local sewage utility wants you to do. ¬†Some utilities call for bagging the poop tightly in plastic and throwing it in the trash. ¬†Don’t bother to invest in biodegradable dog poop bags. ¬†Given the low-oxygen environment of the typical landfill, very little biodegradation can take place anyway. ¬†So save your money and use ordinary plastic bags instead.¬†
If your utility prefers that you flush dog poop down the toilet, you can scoop up the poop in a plastic bag, empty the contents into the toilet, ¬†then tie off the bag and dispose of it.
If you have a small dog, you might consider buying flushable dog poop bags. ¬†These bags are not recommended for use with large dogs because their larger output may be toilet-clogging.
If you’re willing to go to some trouble, you might follow the example of Sharon Slack of Vancouver, British Columbia, who composts her dog’s poop! ¬†She cut the bottom out of an old trash can and bored some holes in the sides. ¬†She then buried the can, to just below the rim, in an out of the way spot in her garden. ¬†With a small shovel, she adds each poop deposit to the can. ¬†Now and then she sprinkles in water and an over-the-counter enzyme product used in septic systems. ¬†When the compost is finished, she spreads it in her garden and starts another batch.
FOR CAT OWNERS:
Because of toxo, do not flush cat poop down the toilet. ¬†Instead, bag it tightly in plastic and put it in the garbage.
Some kitty litters are more environmentally friendly than others. ¬†The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends avoiding clay-based silica, clumping, and sand litters. ¬†They are obtained through strip-mining, which is very harmful to land.¬†
Litters EWG considers greener include plant-based products made from wheat, corn, ground corncobs, alfalfa pellets, and recycled newspaper pellets.–April Moore
You’ll see Christmas trees dying ‚ÄĒ their needles turned brown.
30 million dead trees ‚ÄĒ that’s what you’ll find! “Just some more numbers to boggle your mind.” That’s good old Rick Dungey ‚ÄĒ head of public relations For the¬†National Christmas Tree Association. He fields lots of calls ‚ÄĒ and often they’re dumb, Or perhaps fueled by eggnog with way too much rum. “My tree’s doing great! It’s still taking up water!” The calls start okay, but then they get odder: “Will it regrow roots and continue to live?” “Well, no,” is the answer that Rick has to give.
But there is still hope ‚ÄĒ for all cross the nation There’s a sort of arborial tree-incarnation! When everyone’s done with their¬†O Tannebaum-in’ Rick Dungey explains, “Mulching programs are common.” “But there have been some creative ones out there,” he adds. Some trees get a new life that isn’t half bad.
Near Jefferson, La., volunteers place recycled Christmas trees inside man-made wooden cribs in the shallow water of a local marsh in January 2011. The trees absorb wave action and protect fragile marshland from erosion.
Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs/AP
Down in Louisiana, where the land meets the ocean. “We place them out in the marsh to combat¬†coastal erosion.” At the¬†Department of Environmental Affairs Jason Smith uses trees to make coastal repairs. The trees trap the soil, and make the waves slow, “And aquatic vegetation can begin to grow.”
At Oakland’s fine¬†zoo, the word “trunk” is a term That applies to both Christmas trees and¬†pachyderms. The beasts lumber past, pining for treats Rooting around for a new thing to eat. Gina Kinzley, their keeper, says they prefer The sweet evergreens. “The noble firs.” The trees are both playthings and part of their diet And they’re not alone, other animals try it. Giraffe and zebra also give it a try “Lions, tigers, the bears!” Oh my! “The elephants really enjoy the bark.” It looks just like Christmas aboard Noah’s Ark.
The¬†fishermen¬†up north in Portland were stumped The¬†fish¬†population has recently slumped. And part of the reason, says Mr.¬†Mike Gentry Is that some of the streams are deplorably empty. Of woody debris for the coho and trout There’s no habitat! So it’s time to branch out. “They need cover from predators.” (to hide out below) “They need a calm place to rest and grow. They also need a food source.” So Gentry and his team Sink dead Christmas trees¬†in their swift local streams.
In the East, Mitchell Mann and Dominic Esposito Are two Jersey boys who live by one credo: “To save the environment, pretty much, being green.” So they drummed up a¬†posse of like-minded teens. They’ll¬†grab all the trees¬†‚ÄĒ every one within reach And they’ll bring them all down to nearby Bradley Beach. “Once the trees are on the beach they’re laid down against a fence.” Where they form the foundation of the town’s defense. “And as the wind blows the trees capture the sand.” And soon dunes will form ‚ÄĒ at least that’s the plan. And in future years, “When a storm comes through It protects all the houses,” and habitat too.
Though their life has been sapped and their trunks have been hewn These trees might form forests in marshes and dunes. And dead groves will grow in the rivers and zoos.
I’ve decided to make use of¬†THE EARTH CONNECTION’s action thread to stir myself to take my own action, one I’ve been talking about for months.
When I meet people for the first time, I often tell them I’m a climate activist. ¬†A reaction I sometimes get goes something like, “I agree with you, but I’m not doing anything about it.” ¬†Then the person may say one of three things: ¬†”I feel guilty that I’m not doing anything about it.” ¬†OR ¬†”I don’t know what to do about global warming.” ¬†OR ¬†”It’s over. ¬†There’s nothing that can be done.”
I’ve said to myself that I would like to be ready for such moments. ¬†There are relatively simple actions that everyone can take, and I’ve wished I had a small card I could hand to people, that lists three things any person can do.
Knowing I wanted to post on THE EARTH CONNECTION’s¬†action thread this week, I decided that now was the time to create this card I’ve been thinking about. ¬†So I wrote the text of the card and took it to a graphic designer/printer I know. ¬†Within days, I expect to have hundreds of attractively designed ‘business’ cards that I will keep with me in my wallet, ready to give out.
In case you’d like to do something similar, here is the text of my card:
YES! ¬†YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE CLIMATE CRISIS!
1.¬† Educate yourself and others.¬† Learn the science basics by reading Climate Change:¬† Evidence, Impacts, and Choices.¬† Free at¬† http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=14673.¬† Share what you know with others, especially those who believe the lies the fossil fuels industry has been promoting–that global warming is not something we need to address.
2.¬† Spread the word about The Healthy Climate and Family Security Act.¬† This bill, now in Congress, would dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions and boost the income of most American families.¬† Learn more at ¬†http://climateandprosperity.org/ ¬†Tell others about this promising bill. ¬†Urge your U.S. Representative and two Senators to sponsor it by calling them at 202-224-3121. ¬†
3.¬† Join the movement to stop global warming.¬† Many organizations are working effectively at local, regional, national, even international levels.¬† Help build this growing movement by giving money, time, or spreading the word. ¬† One especially effective organization is http://www.350.org/.
More than 200,000 people are expected to descend on New York City to show world leaders meeting at the UN that the public wants our leaders to take significant action to address the climate crisis. ¬†Now!
Please add your voice!
If ¬†you’re not already planning to be in New York City on Sunday, September 21, for the largest and most diverse climate action to date, it’s not too late to make your plans. ¬†More than 1,000 organizations around the country are sponsoring the march, and groups in many cities are chartering buses to get people there.
WHY NEW YORK AND WHY SEPTEMBER 21?
In New York City, just two days after the People’s Climate March, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will convene Climate Summit 2014. ¬†Moon conceived this summit in the hope that it will build momentum for the creation of a strong global agreement next year when leaders of the world’s 196 nations meet in Paris to try to hammer out a binding legal agreement to effectively address the climate crisis.
Alarmed that most of the world’s governments are doing next to nothing about the climate crisis, Moon hopes that gathering world leaders in advance of next year’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will speed the process of coming to a meaningful global agreement. ¬†He has urged world¬†leaders attending the New York summit to bring bold announcements of actions for reducing emissions, strengthening climate resilience, and mobilizing political will for action.¬†
That’s where we the people come in. ¬†The thousands upon thousands of concerned citizens converging on New York to support strong outcomes to Climate Summit 2014 will demonstrate that support for strong action from all the world’s governments is increasing rapidly.
It is important that our numbers be large. ¬†The bigger the crowd, the more powerfully our message of urgency will be communicated.
So please come! ¬†For more information about about the march, click here.¬† To find a bus from your area, or information about housing in New York, click here.¬†¬†¬†
I am excited to tell you about the best approach I’ve heard yet for dealing with our climate crisis. ¬†It’s a solution that brings greenhouse gas emissions down to very low levels, while also putting money in the pockets of most Americans. ¬†Doesn’t that sound good?
The solution is a¬†truly landmark piece of legislation, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act, which has just been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. ¬†
Now before you assume that no comprehensive climate solution bill can pass in today’s dysfunctional Congress, let me tell you some basics about the bill that should appeal to practically everyone.
This¬†is a simple, fair, and ‘built-to-last’ solution. ¬†Over time, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 2005 levels, which is what scientists say is needed if we are to avert the worst climate outcomes. ¬†And, at the same time, it directly benefits all Americans in the form of quarterly ¬†payments or dividends. ¬†
The Act puts a tightening cap on carbon emissions-¬†20% below 2005 levels by 2020; 40% lower by 2030 and 80% lower by 2050. ¬†Companies that¬†mine or import coal, oil, or natural gas will be required to purchase pollution permits at auction. ¬†These 2,500 or so companies must buy a permit for every ton of carbon dioxide, or CO2, those fuels would emit once introduced into the U.S. economy. ¬†The companies will buy these permits at auctions organized by the U.S. Treasury. ¬†Over the first 10 years of the Act’s implementation, more than $500 billion would be raised.
But this is not a big government solution. ¬†ALL of the money raised ¬†from the permits purchased will be paid out to the American public, with a check mailed, every three months, to every U.S. resident with a Social Security number. ¬†It is expected that the median income family of four will receive a net benefit of $260 per year at the beginning of the program. ¬†And that benefit will grow over time, as the fossil fuels cap tightens and the United States transitions away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy economy.
In rebating the money equally to all Americans, the Act benefits middle and lower income Americans more than it benefits the richest. ¬†Since the companies buying the emission permits will pass their costs on to the public, in the form of higher gasoline and other prices, the quarterly checks to citizens will cover far more of middle and lower income Americans’ spending on carbon-producing activities than it will cover of the carbon-producing activities of the wealthy. ¬†After all, the wealthy tend live in ways that result in a greater carbon footprint than do the rest of us.¬†
The bill includes needed flexibility on reduction targets. ¬†If subsequent science-based evidence shows greater reductions are needed, the bill states that carbon reduction targets and schedules can ‚Äúbe revised by Congress in order to avert catastrophic climate impacts.” ¬†The bill also protects American companies from unfair competition from the companies of countries that are not subject to such required emission permit purchases. ¬†
The bill also explicitly prohibits big banks and Wall Street traders from buying or selling the emission permits. ¬†Companies are not allowed the option of planting trees or taking other ‘offsetting’ actions in lieu of buying the emission permits.
Surely, this bill will be wildly popular with the public, once they understand it. ¬†After all, Alaska has paid out more than $17 billion in dividends from oil royalties to all Alaskan citizens since 1982. ¬†That’s when then-Governor Republican Jay Hammond established the Alaska Permanent Fund, maintaining that the state’s natural wealth belongs to all its people. ¬†Not surprisingly, the Permanent Fund is extremely popular among Alaskans.
I hear from Hill-savvy climate activists that many Republicans in Congress now take the climate crisis seriously and are looking for a face-saving way to speak out. ¬†I pray that the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act will be that way. ¬†After all, it is not a tax but more of a tax cut. ¬†It would return billions of dollars from government to the people.
In any event, it’s up to us, the people, to make sure our Congress does the right thing. ¬†Even in our diminished democracy, if our elected representatives hear from their constituents, in no uncertain terms, that we want this legislation, they will have to act if they want to stay in office. ¬†Here’s what you can do to help make the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act a reality:
Sign a petition to Congress, calling for the passage of the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act. ¬†Sign the petition.
Read the bill. ¬†Unlike may pieces of legislation that are hundreds of pages long, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act is a lean 28 pages. By reading it, you will be better able to spread the word to others. ¬†Read the bill ¬† ¬†
Tell others about the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act, especially those who believe there is nothing we can do about the climate crisis.
Gather a small group of people who support the bill, and make an appointment to meet with your Member of Congress next time s/he is in the District. ¬†Tell your Representative how important the legislation is to all of us and to our country’s future, that you want him/her to support it. ¬†Tell the local press about the results of your meeting, or even bring a local reporter to the meeting with you.
Many people understand the peril we face as a result of our warming world. ¬†But I find that many of these people feel helpless and believe there is nothing they can do to solve the problem.
Fortunately, there is no cause for such helplessness. ¬†There is a great deal that all of us can do, that we must¬†do if we want to leave our children and grandchildren a world where they can lead healthy lives.
In a future posting, I will share some of what Al Gore just wrote in¬†The Rolling Stone. ¬†He is optimistic that we can solve our climate crisis, and he persuaded me to be more hopeful as well.
And today–or anytime this week–you can do something to help persuade Congress to take meaningful action to address climate change. ¬† Your action can be completed in a mere 10 minutes.
Here’s what to do:
Make three phone calls––one to your Member of Congress and one each to your two Senators. ¬†By calling this week, you will augment the efforts of thousands of climate activists from all over the country, who are in Washington right now, visiting the offices of all 100 ¬†Senators and all 435 Representatives. ¬†These citizen lobbyists are urging Congress to enact a tax on carbon that returns revenue to the public.
It is very important that we all add our voices to those citizen lobbyists now gathered on Capitol Hill. ¬†After all, the fossil fuels industry has hired thousands of lobbyists to pressure Congress to act on behalf of their short term monetary gain at the expense of the public and the planet. ¬†Even though our democracy has been diminished in recent years as a result of gross increases of money in politics, our Members of Congress will do what the people want if they think hanging onto their seat may be at stake. ¬†That’s why we must make sure they hear from large numbers of us.
So please call 202-224-3121, the Capitol switchboard. ¬†Ask to be connected to the office of Senator X or Congressman Y. ¬†Once you reach the office you requested, you can leave your message on a tape or ask to speak to the aide who deals with climate issues. ¬†I try to choose the latter option to increase my chances of speaking with an actual person. ¬†If, in fact, you do leave a message on a machine, be sure to include your name and phone number. ¬†This will assure office staffer that you are, in fact, a constituent. ¬†And feel free to express your passion; ¬†you don’t need to be an expert. ¬†After all, you wield the vote. ¬†
¬† ¬† May is Garden for Wildlife Month. ¬†If you enjoy watching birds and other animals, this may be the time to think about creating some habitat for them right where you live. ¬†And if you provide the four elements wildlife need to thrive–food, water, cover, and a place to raise their young, you can qualify for a Certified Wildlife Habitat designation by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).
¬† ¬†In 1973, NWF created its Garden for Wildlife program.¬† Gardening with birds and other native animals in mind makes a real contribution to the health of many species, especially since we humans have destroyed so much habitat by expanding our cities, shopping strips, and roads, etc., into the areas where so much wildlife lives.
¬† ¬† ¬†Pretty much anywhere you live, whether in a suburban neighborhood, a rural area, or even in the heart of a city, you can probably provide the four elements wildlife need to thrive and raise their young.
¬† ¬† ¬†In reading about NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program (CWHP), I was surprised and delighted to learn that even someone who lives in an urban apartment, with only a balcony for outdoor space, can create a high quality wildlife habitat that qualifies for certification!
¬† ¬† ¬†NWF’s Wildlife Habitat program manager describes several tiny, urban apartment habitats that NWF has certified. ¬†In Suffolk, Massachusetts, for example, a couple ¬†strung their 25-square foot balcony with four hanging bird feeders that attract pine siskins, cardinals, redpolls, blue jays, and a half-dozen other species. ¬†The couple also put out oriole and hummingbird feeders. ¬†And containers of columbine, red-tooth dogwood, and other well-chosen plants provide cover for the birds. ¬†
¬† ¬† ¬†I find it so heartening that even when a tiny space is equipped with the things wildlife need, they will find and use that space, wherever it is.
¬† ¬† ¬†If you have more outdoor space available, like a back yard, you have more options for creating habitat. ¬†And the National Wildlife Federation has dozens of suggestions for what to plant, ways to provide needed cover, and so much more. ¬†If you get your wildlife habitat certified, you can display your certification sign proudly. ¬†Perhaps you will inspire neighbors and passers-by to establish their own wildlife habitat.
I have little aptitude for technology. ¬†But when I saw my friend Elizabeth Cottrell’s recent posting on her website Heartspoken.com, I actually felt that the three apps she described might just heighten my enjoyment of the natural world.
The following is reposted from www.Heartspoken.com, a site where Elizabeth explores ways to strengthen the essential connections of our life: ¬†with self, with others, with God, and with nature.–April Moore
Smartphone users have amazing apps that enhance and facilitate access to information they want when they‚Äôre on the go. I‚Äôm just discovering some fantastic apps to help me achieve my goal of becoming more knowledgeable and aware of the natural world around me. Here are three of the most interesting I‚Äôve discovered recently. Two of them are pricey, but they‚Äôre like having an expert guide right beside you!
1) iBirdPro Guide to Birds¬†by the Mitch Waite Group. $19.99. This was recommended to me by my serious birder friends, and I truly love the iPad version. It‚Äôs available for iOS 4.3 or later: compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It‚Äôs also available for NEXUS 7 and Android¬†OS 4.3 Jelly Bean. Enter features of a bird you see and its location (coloration details, size, terrain, state, time or year, etc.) and you‚Äôll be presented with a list of possibilities, including terrific photos, range maps, and audio files to hear bird calls. If you want to look up a specific bird, the information is comprehensive on its behavior, range, birds that look and sound like it, and so much more. There‚Äôs a $9.99 version called iBird Plus Guide to Birds, and my friend Beth has found it be very robust (see her comment below).
2)¬†Night Sky 2¬†by iCandi Apps. $.99. Aim your device at the night sky to identify stars, planets, constellations, and satellites. You don‚Äôt need a telescope. The app adds overlays of constellations on its illustrations. Push notifications even let you know what sky conditions to expect in your area on that night. It‚Äôs been too cold to spend much time outside learning Night Sky 2, but I‚Äôm looking forward to milder weather so I can identify more than just Orion and the Big Dipper.
3) iTrackWildlife¬†by¬†NatureTracking.com. $14.99. I‚Äôve used this one often this winter because of all the animal tracks in the snow, and it‚Äôs been great fun to speculate on the story that goes with the tracks. Where was this animal going? What was it doing? ¬†Was this a dog or a coyote or a fox? Whoaaa‚Ä¶there was obviously a struggle here, and the blood and feathers on the snow means it didn‚Äôt end well for one creature or another. This app includes photographs of each animal‚Äôs tracks on various surfaces, information on their gait, and pictures of scat. There‚Äôs also a free version, but it only features eight species.
Sometimes a simple tool like an app can make learning so much easier! Have you used any apps for learning about nature that you‚Äôd recommend? Please share in the comments below or over on my¬†Facebook Page.¬†
Here are some green New Year’s resolutions from a woman who writes for the Monterey County (California) Herald. ¬†While I believe that the individual decisions we make in our daily lives cannot possibly be enough to prevent environmental disaster, still, we must each do what we can. ¬†
What we really need is strong leadership at the highest levels if we are to effectively address climate change, mass species extinctions, and so much more. ¬†Nonetheless, we should all try to lighten our impact on our suffering planet. ¬†April Moore
Kathryn McKenzie: Small steps to take for Earth in 2014
Click photo to enlarge
Have you made your resolutions for the New Year?
Many of us are planning to drop a few pounds, get in shape or focus on ourselves in some other way that involves self-improvement.
But here’s another idea for your resolution list: Think about the ways in which you can live a more sustainable lifestyle ‚ÄĒ good for you, and good for the Earth.
Like many other things, being green is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It is, for most of us, a series of small steps that lead us closer to the ideal. And the more steps we take, the easier it is to make more. I don’t propose any grandiose goals for myself, like producing zero waste from my household in 2014. It’s an admirable goal, but one that I realize is not realistic for me (although I do greatly admire people who have come close to this).
Rather, I continue to look for ways to reduce waste and also to recycle more, and I think I’ve made some progress this year. For instance, I have greatly cut down on my use of paper towels by using rags and towels instead. I am doing better at remembering to take my reusable grocery bags to the store (well, most of the time, anyway), thus reducing my need for single-use bags. When I do get single use bags, I’m recycling them in my Waste Management container, which is pretty convenient. I’m also recycling all that annoying plastic wrap, bread bags and bubble wrap, bundling it all inside a plastic bag and putting it on top of the other recyclables. I am attempting to compost. Although I have failed at this in the past, I am giving it the old college try once more. Now I must exercise patience while the microbes do their work.
I also took one big step toward sustainability last month by having a solar system installed at my home. It’s in place and it’s working, but I am waiting for interconnection with PG&E so that I can be credited for the extra electricity that the solar panels produce. This has been an interesting undertaking, and I’m looking forward to sharing more about this in the New Year after it’s a go.
So what can you do to give yourself a greener 2014? Here are some easy ways to do it, in addition to what I’ve described above.
¬∑ Choose glass containers rather than plastic, since glass can be recycled and remanufactured indefinitely.
¬∑ Buy organic produce when you can, especially from our local farmers.
¬∑ Reduce your electricity usage by replacing incandescent bulbs with vastly more efficiently CFLs and LEDs, installing ceiling fans for cooling, and just like Mom told you, turn off the lights when you leave the room. If you are able to, also power down cable boxes, TVs, stereo systems, computers and peripherals.
¬∑ Save water whenever you can ‚ÄĒ plant drought-tolerant landscaping, get rid of your lawn if you can, take shorter showers and install drip irrigation.