Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Little Things

Are you having an emotional response to these pictures? Are you thinking,"Oh no. Not another 'Go Green' rant". Are you moving your mouse to the back button? I beg you to read further. I was reading an article today and started pondering all the things I can and should do to be a better steward of this beautiful earth we've been given. This is sort of my journal entry afterward. It's not too doomsday, and there is a happy ending: )
No matter your political persuasion and no matter your religion, we all share common ground on one thing.
We want the earth to be clean for our grandchildren and our grandchildrens' children.
This subject can be very frustrating because so much of advertising is "Green Washed" these days. Companies often use the green train simply to sell a product or service---when sometimes their product or service doesn't really even help the earth or the environment! It bugs the heck out of me, and it draws attention away from the real issue at hand.

We can all do something everyday to leave the earth a little better.

OK. Take everyone in the U.S. that doesn't typically recycle (think in the millions). Now imagine if all those people for one day recycled one aluminum can. It adds up. Doing one thing really can help. I know in the past I avoided doing the little things because that's how it feels. Little. "What good will it do? It's one soup can. What good will it do? It's one newspaper." But thinking on the larger scale, it means something.

Another thing that stops some from taking these steps is the whole political issue. Really, this isn't a matter of where you stand politically. The earth is something we all share whether you are far to the left or right, or anywhere in between. And whether you believe in global warming or not, again isn't the issue. All you have to do is look at the smog in the air or pictures of our landfills getting bigger and bigger. Polluted air causes multitudes of health problems and much of our waste does not decompose for hundreds of years. This trash is getting dumped by the tons every hour of the day. Where does it go? Some is incinerated (again, back in the air). Much of it sits for hundreds of years to come-- polluting our soil and ground water (again, more health consequences). This is something I never thought about as a kid--trash has to go somewhere. When we throw something in the dumpster, it doesn't disappear into the black hole. And that smoggy air is going to blow somewhere. In Phoenix, we get L.A.'s smog drift all the time in addition to our own.
So I'm trying to be more aware of what it is I buy-- thinking more about the life of the product--asking myself these questions:
Do I really need it?
How long will I use it?
How will I dispose of it?
What will happen to it once it has left my hands?
If I have to think very long about any of these questions, it is a good indicator to me that whatever it is, is not worth the purchase, or the space it will take up in my home and soul.

Whenever someone talks about the environment, I get depressed. And I'm tired of being depressed about it cause it really isn't a good motivator for me to take action. For me, I have to make it a game--and that's how I plan to teach my children. Not, "The world will be decrepit in 50 years if we don't recycle!" or "Our grandchildren will all have asthma if we don't cut down on our Carbon emissions". Does that sound fun to kids? I think not. Frankly, if we suck the joy out of being a kid in the name of the planet then we may end up with kids who resent and rebel against the green values we want for them. I'm thinkin' more like, "Let's see if we can put more in the recycle bin than the black bin this week!" or "Let's see how long we can make this roll of paper towels last". Kids love games. I'm just a big kid so I like games too---FYI: I made our last paper towel roll last almost 4 weeks, thanks to these-- Awesome.
I have a long way to go-- but I'm trying to do more little things.
Let's all remember the little things.
Stay tuned for a giveaway this week!

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