Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Love Your Mother

No, I did not forget today was the 44th (I think) annual Earth Day!  I got up a little late this morning and have been trying to catch up all day since, so I put off posting until this evening.  I generally write better later in the day anyway.  I was a little disappointed to see that there were not very many bloggers, that I came across, that posted anything about Earth Day but that's okay.  It still gets more press than it did way back when I was younger.
Thankfully, more people nowadays care more about our environment, or claim to, but that doesn't always mean that they actually DO anything to help matters.  I have a couple of acquaintances on Facebook that are constantly going on about global warming but when you ask them, 'well, what are you doing to help matters?'  Wooo, it gets real damn quiet.  Because well, they don't actually do anything.  Apparently, there are many people that somehow believe that if they can convince enough other people to believe the way they do, everything will spontaneously and gloriously change and the perfect harmonious world will pop into existence through the power of thought alone.  And then you still have the people that I think just try to see how much they can muck up and waste just to spite because being "green" is sort of an in thing and they 'don't like anyone telling them what to do'..  I can't help but laugh at these people going around in their fake Hummers and gargantuan trucks to prove their point, all the while spending half or more of their hard-earned pay on gas alone, not to mention payments etc.  They're making a statement alright but it isn't what they think it is. 
So, unfortunately, environmentalism has now become just another political contention for many.  A way to beat others over the head with their supposed intellectual superiority.  "If you don't believe in my flavor of climate change you're an idiot and I'm better than you."  I know that it sometimes looks hopeless.  Now days, for every "green" choice Americans, Europeans and Aussies make there seems to be 2 or 3 in China, or other up and coming industrial nations, gobbling up our environmental savings and more.  A lot of people would think, what's the use?.  How can you win against such overwhelming odds? As hokey as it is, I'm always reminded of the story of the Boy and the Starfish.  It's a sappy, almost surely fictional tale but it does capture one reality; that one person can make a difference.  One person can help right where they are but also because that person can influence someone else and on it goes.  Every bottle I recycle is one less in the dumps and by watching me other people may be inclined to join in.  When one person will stand up and say, "I'm going to do this because it's the right thing to do", it's amazing how much that alone can help other people to do the same.
We are awash in trash in this country and show no signs of slowing down.  Approximately 55% of 220 million tons of waste generated each year in the United States ends up in one of the over 3,500 landfills.  On average, most people produce a little over 4 lbs. of trash in ONE day.  One Day!!  For our children and their children's sake we have to do better than this.  Fortunately, more and more towns are initiating recycling facilities or programs.  Even my little town has recycling dumpsters at the library and it's real easy to take other stuff into Birmingham.
Every day there are more and more "green" options available to us, such as Energy Star appliances, solar energy of all kinds, even down to solar charges for your phone and batteries.  More people are able to work at home due to computer linking.  Farmer's markets abound if you can't grow your own or you want to add to what you already grow.  Many cities are allowing gardens and chickens now.  I know not everyone can do everything but everyone can do something.  It's often just a case of wanting to and getting it out of people's minds that it some huge inconvenience to live more lightly.  In many cases it's very freeing and can save you a lot of money, and supposedly, everybody likes to save money.

I know, to many of my readers, I'm preaching to the choir on this subject but it's one I wanted to write about anyway.  I have a list I wanted to share also, on various ways we can live cleaner and greener, but this post has gotten longer than I anticipated so I'll share that next time.  I hope you all had a nice Earth Day and are getting those gardens planted!!


Ed said...

I'm not one in favor of new taxes but I've felt that if we are going to truly make a difference in the environment across all sectors of our nation, we need to implement some sort of environmental tax similar to how we use gas tax to fix roads and bridges. The more harmful you are to the environment, the more tax you pay as a manufacturer, consumer, etc. That money collected would then be used to help improve the environment by planting more trees, building carbon dioxide collectors, purifying streams, etc.

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! well, I don't know about more taxes. I think most people would just be highly resentful of something like that, and more prone to try to screw the system, thereby harming the environment more possibly. And, I could see how you could tax manufacturers and such but how do you keep up with consumers? I think it's going to take a gradual change in people's mindset, where they want to keep things clean.

Ed said...

Yeah taxes definitely isn't a sensitive subject. But I think the only way to truly change people of this modern time is through their pocketbook.

I would keep up with consumers very easily, charge by the pound to dispose of their refuse. I think I pay a token amount of $25 a month to have someone dispose of my recycling and trash and from what I have seen, most people don't recycle much. If they made recycling free and charged say $1 a pound to dispose of your trash, I'm guessing recycling numbers would surge dramatically and people might think a little bit about buying heavily packaged stuff. The thought that comes to mind is Christmas morning. After opening up all the gifts for our children, it takes me several weeks to cram all the packaging materials into the recycling bins before it is all gone! The toys could fit in a tiny fraction of the space.

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! well, making people change generally is only done through money! that or threat of immediate death. lol!
Paying for trash and having free recycling is a good idea. That's basically what we do here. I mean, we don't pay for trash pickup, but we would have to if we wanted that. It's completely free however to drop your stuff off at the recycling places, and so we do. Of course, you have to take it there rather than have it picked up for you but I don't mind.
Excessive packaging is a horrible issue too.