Paper or Drastic: Environmental Tips from Grist
8/23/2005 07:31:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Dear Umbra,

What are some everyday things I could do to protect the environment? Like choosing plastic or paper, that kind of thing.

Spokane, Wash.
Umbra gives a thoughful answer, different than you'd think for an enviromental site. I still think that we should reduce our waste however possible, but she reminds us that there are bigger fish to fry out there. She provides a link to a previous Consumption Manifesto as well.
There are two items on which all agree: buy the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible, and use it as little as possible. Instead, use mass transit, your feet, your bicycle, etc. You know this, but do you do it every day? The only people who do are those who don't own cars -- and even they sometimes borrow mine. So we all can improve here.

Two other areas of harmony: light bulbs and letter writing. Compact fluorescent bulbs should be at the top of your shopping list until you run out of sockets. Then, under their soothing (and long-lasting) glow, sit and write your representatives (you can find their addresses online or in your phone book).
Glad to see that I have started to work on the above items. I do believe that the CFL bulbs make a difference in the energy bill. I hope to get involved in more letter writing in the colder months when there is less daylight and a whole lot more free time.

Other tips:
I think that is plenty to keep you busy, what with licking stamps and caulking windows. But in case your home is already weatherproofed and your hand is cramped, here are the things vying to round out the lists: Plant trees in your neighborhood, yard, or vicinity. Choose clean power if it is available in your community. Reduce your water usage. Have a meat-free day once a week, and buy locally produced foods. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Have a small family and teach them to tend the planet. And, finally, get involved by joining, supporting, or starting an environmental organization.
Go have a read and let me know your thoughts.
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On 7:35 PM , Kate West said...

I agree with what she said, mostly. The only thing I take issue with is telling people that their everyday actions don't matter. I agree that working on the bigger issues is a must, and that everyone needs to do them, but if everyone was doing some small things to make a difference it would definitely add up. She does talk about those smaller things later in the article, so maybe I'm getting my knickers in a twist for no reason. But I *hate* it when I read/hear someone saying that the small things do not matter.

On 9:01 PM , baloghblog said...

I agree. I don't think that anyone should be discouraged about doing the "little things" to help the environment.

I think that the point of the response is just to not get caught up in the little things, and not to look at the big picture.

For example, I am thinking about getting a hybrid to increase my car's mileage, instead of looking at ways to (truthfully) reduce the miles that I am on the road. Which is better?