Earth Day XXXVII
That should say Earth Day 37, but who knows with my lack of Roman Numeral savvy. It has rolled about again but not in the regular ole since of the day. This is the first Earth Day since global scientist got together and say "Oh sh*t we're in trouble". (It may be just a conicidence that no one could agree for years and then a Democratic majority got in place and suddenly there was data left and right. YEARS OLD DATA. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.)
We take as many steps as we can in our cramped one bedroom, old ass apartment, but it's not enough. Our building doesn't recycle and that means our carbon footprint is higher than it was years back when we lived in a recycling building. We can't afford to move so the goal is to do what we can where we are.
We already buy some recycled products to offset our inability to recycle here. We're kicking that up to check each and everything thing we use that has a recycled alternative.
Wanting to do even more this year, I may or may not be the one, that did or did not report our building to the city in order to force the recycling issue. Way back there was a city ordinance for recycling in both residental and commercial areas which includes my neighborhood. Other buildings have their paper/plastics/glass and cans bins on our block, I want mine. We shall see what happens there.
We also recycle the plastic bags we get at the grocery store. The problem is that no matter how many times we use the bags, eventually we have to throw them away and they take 1000 years to break down. Of course I'm happy they break down at all, but Americans dump 100 billion (with a B) plastic bags each year. And it'll take a thousand years for those bags to go back to ground. Can't be part of the problem any longer.
We made the switch to Canvas bags today. Store trips that will likely exceed the two bags we've switched to, will be supplemented by bringing in the plastic bags we've already got. Once we buy some produce bags and an insulated bag for frozen foods, we'll be set. More frequent trips to the store over getting fast food will save money and make the bags large enough for regular shopping as we replace things as they run out.
But won't the more frequent trips use up more gas?
Nope. We don't drive. My Sweetie and I use public transportation so no fears there. And that alone is our biggest contribution to treading lightly and lowering our carbon footprint.
Our living room lamp is meant to light the entire room on a 50-200-250 bulb. Unfortunately, the Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs being offered don't go up to 250w (CFL equivalent of 55w) in an everyday use bulb. As even at 250 there really isn't sufficient light for proper eye health, the decision for a second lamp and trading down to 100w(CFL 26w-29w) to 150w (CFL 38w-42w) bulbs has been made. In the meantime we've begun trading out all of the other bulbs in the apartment as we can afford.
I haven't yet switched to all organic soaps and lotions and such. But I have gone toward those with high natural ingrediant contents and buy from companies that are part of the Fair Trade Program so that I know a fair wage is being given to those helping make my skin so soft. Where my soaps and lotions are still working toward organic, we've decided to make the switch to organic cleaners and detergents.
Going on all the lovely reports out there for Earth Day, the average person emits 94 lbs of carbon dioxide every day. It takes four trees to make up for the carbon output each person generates in a month.
So we're going to buy some trees.
American Forest will plant a tree for every dollar donated. A $25 donation will make our household a member and lightens a fourth of our carbon load for the year. We'll do a donation each month until we've reached $100, our four trees each per month for the year plus four extra.
Four trees a month per person, a dollar a week. Is there anyone out there (those college students among you living on ramen exempted) not wasting a dollar a week that could go toward a tree?
So there we go, all the ways we've stepped up this Earth Day to start a permanent path of treading lighter on the Earth.
The challenge I'm throwing out is to do one thing. Just one. And encourage one person you know to do one thing and encourage one person.
Change a bulb.
Buy a reusable bag.
Switch out to a recycled product.
Find out what's happening in your community.
Share what you're going to do here or link to your blog where you talk about it.
Spread the word. Spread the Change.