The United Nations recently reported that we have around 12 years of stability remaining before we face a crisis. The world I lived in growing up is not the same world I live in now.
Every day, we are consuming our natural reserves and our use far exceeds our replenishment of those very resources. From fish to trees to bees. We have seen some serious threats to our way of live arise in the last few decades.
This ecosystem depends highly on our ability as a people to find ways to renew energy, conserve resources and find alternate sources of energy to meet the ever-increasing consumption.
I’ve taken it upon myselfto do something about it. And I would like to tell you just what I plan on doing, what I do and how I think you can get involved.
Cutting down on the use of plastic
Plastic can take over 1,000 years to decompose.
The trouble with plastic is, literally tons of plastic can end up in the ocean whether deliberately or not. You may not intend on the plastic you use to end up there, but it does! It’s estimated that there are over 150 million metric tons in the oceans around the world– with over 8 million tons entering the ocean every year.
This may seem like someone else’s problem, but it’s not. The problem belongs to all of us.
You’ve heard that it’s good to recycle. You’ve been told to recycle to help the planet. You may have heard that recycling isn’t beneficial because it costs more to recycle than to simply manufacture something new.
Without arguing either point, it’s important to take a look at this from the top down. Let’s say that your house is the Earth, your trash can is all of the landfills in the world, and your tub is all of the oceans of the world.
Now picture your trash can holding 50 pounds of trash. That’s it. You can fit 50 but if you start overloading it, you can’t close the lid. And your bathtub can hold 50 gallons of water – same thing, 50 and no more.
Now picture throwing a bunch of used, plastic bottles from your trash can into your tub. These aren’t clean, new containers, they’re used, old, plastic bottles – now occupying your beautiful new bathtub – which is also full of water. Not pretty is it?
So, the point is simple, does recycling make sense? It does if you want to do something other than dumping your plastics in the ocean. It works whether it costs more than producing new products or not.
Take shorter showers
OK, this one sounds a bit far-fetched. I will admit that. I love taking a nice, hot 1,000º shower for 30 minutes and singing my favorite Disney song for my neighbors to hear hust as much as the next person.
But, hear me out. The point of taking a shorter shower is just to conserve some water that has to be filtered and heated before making it into your shower. Every time you cut down on your shower time, you effectively cut down on the consumption of water that has to be treated and supplied to you.
It’s really not difficult to do and can make a huge difference.
Conserve energy by turning off your lights and upgrading windows
Did your mom or dad every act like the electricity police around you? Well, I feel your pain. But as an adult I finally see what my dad was talking about.
Look, if you’re on the grid and pay electricity, you know that leaving on all the lights in the house or having old, inefficient windows can make your bill skyrocket.
In my old house, our windows must have been from 1950. They were single-pane, super thin, crank-style windows that actually didn’t close very well. There were gaps between the windows themselves and the closure. Needless to say, they were terrible at insulating and once month I paid over $450 for my electricity consumption. It was not a good month.
So replacing bad or inefficient windows should be a priority. And they can be expensive, I get it. Once option is to search Craigslist in your area. I was able to find some windows that were left over after a homeowner had replaced theirs. Luckily they fit.
Plant a tree in your garden
You’ve heard this one time and time again. Plant a tree. I know that you know what I mean here. But why is this so important? You already know about how trees help provide oxygen and we use them for paper. Yes, there’s that. But did you know there are many other reasons to plant trees?
Trees can help filter our water, provide homes for animals, produce oxygen, provide shade and be used to make medicines. The list doesn’t stop there. We make furniture from trees as well as tools, boats and even rope.
We can burn trees to produce heat for cooking or warming our bodies. The roots of some trees can be eaten as can some tree’s leaves and bark.
The point is, plant a tree. They help in lots of ways.
Make a choice to do something about it
If you’re ready to do something about this and ready to really make it count, connect with me on LinkedIn. And if you’re near the Colorado River in Yuma, Arizona, come hike a trail or two with me.
Of course, your donations are always welcome at the Environmental Defense Fund and at the Defenders of Wildlife website where they help protect and restore endangered species.