Are we near an environmental tipping point? From the classes I’ve taken, and from the articles and books I’ve read, the answer is yes. The tipping point is not just about climate change; it’s about species extinction, resource depletion and too many toxins in the environment effecting water, air and soil. The thing that so many people miss when this is discussed is that we as a species are at risk as well. It is not just about the frogs or the giant mountain gorillas disappearing; it’s about humans disappearing. We live in a closed loop system. What we put into the atmosphere doesn’t dissipate into space. It’s in our Earth system until the system can break it down. Things like plastic are in the system, essentially, forever. We have to see the big picture and the long-term. We need to stop focusing on the millisecond, and focus on the millennium. Here are some articles about the tipping point.
OK, so that’s the bad news. There is good news. We can change the direction we’re going. We can all make small changes that can help. We can also make big changes that can help. Many of these steps can save us money too.
1) Switch to reusable bags instead of plastic or paper
2) Switch to reusable bottles for water. Maybe that means a filter pitcher for your kitchen or a filter attachment for your faucet.
3) Switch to fluorescent or LED light bulbs. Especially in the summer, stop heating your home with your lighting.
4) Switch to cloth napkins and rags instead of paper products that you throw away.
5) If you HAVE to have paper napkins or paper towels then at least use recycled paper.
6) Oh, yeah, stopping using virgin fiber old-growth trees to wipe your derriere!
7) Ditch the gas guzzler. If you need a larger vehicle, then save it for when you really need the space or towing strength. Stop running little errands with one person in the car with a vehicle that gets pathetic MPGs.
8 ) Eat locally. Grow your own food, join a CSA (community supported agriculture) and shop you local farmers market. A very large amount of energy goes into shipping food.
9) Eat as much organic food as you can afford. Please refer back to my blog on Pesticides and ADHD. I have a list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 when it comes to pesticides and organics.
10) Think about EVERY purchase. Do you need that thing? Can you find that thing in a renewable or recycled material? Can you find that thing used?
11) Set your thermostat to a higher temp in the summer and a lower temp in the winter.
12) Replace old, inefficient windows and doors.
13) Seal up cracks around your home.
14) Use window treatments to keep your house more comfortable in any season.
15) Plant trees strategically.
16) Recycle, let me repeat, recycle.
17) Invest in renewable energy.
18) Reuse; before you toss something, ask yourself if you could somehow reuse that item.
19) Compost; indoor or outdoor, traditional or worm.
20) Walk, bike, carpool, and combine car trips when you can.
There, 20 things you can do. You don’t have to do all of them to make a difference. There are many more, and I bet you can think of some pretty quickly. We just have to stop thinking like we have unlimited resources and unlimited places to throw stuff. We live on one planet, and have finite space. We have finite water resources. There is a finite amount of fossil fuels left.
Here is a list of resources to find some of the items to help you live more sustainably. You’re children and grandchildren will thank you.