Ah, Earth Day! A day on which I get to mount one of my most favorite soapboxes; to wit, conservation. Naturally parismonious by nature, fretting about conserving precious resources is a DELIGHT for me. BUT. I live in the mid-west. Mid-westerners are not, perhaps, in general the most conservation-minded people. So I have compiled a little list of things for Mid-Westerners to do that won’t stretch their conservative yet unconservationist little souls too terribly much. (Yes, I know I’m preaching to the choir here but I do at times need to vent to like-minded individuals)
1. Take your own bags to the store. OR, ask to NOT get a bag when purchasing things you can carry in your two hands. The clerks will look at you aghast and ask if you are SURE, but it can be done.
2. Buy a rotary push mower. No, it doesn’t leave your yard looking like you used your John Deere but you won’t emit yet more exhaust, you won’t need to buy gas and best of all, it’s QUIET.
3. Open the windows. Seriously. My neighbors? They have ALREADY been running their air conditioner…people, it’s not even hot yet.
4. Use a laundry line.
5. Take a hike. Ok, not everyone lives close enough to amenities to make this feasible but wouldn’t it be nice if future communities actually returned to this concept?
6. Plant a tree. Provides shade! Cleans the air!
7. Recycle. It can’t get much easier than getting a bin and not even having to sort your recyclables, but the woefully small number of people in my neighborhood who actually manage to do this is discouraging.
8. Buy products that are earth-friendly. Buy products that come in recyclable packaging (and what is with all this packaging, anyway? it’s so irritating)
9. Drive a car, not a behemoth. Remember when we were growing up? When Mom, Dad and 2-3 kids all fit into the family sedan and we didn’t ‘need’ minivans? Trade in that Escalade for the fuel-efficient car of your choice.
10. Turn off the water. when you’re brushing or shaving or washing the dishes (oops, maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t have a dishwasher? not sure…). Buy a valve for your shower so you can stop the flow while you are soaping up.
11. Buy it used. Ok, so I can think of some things you WOULDN’T want to buy used, but in general there’s lots of stuff that you can buy that won’t contribute to the consumerist juggernaut. (and, on a side note. if you see something at Goodwill? and it reminds you of me? i would NOT AT ALL be offended if you gave it to me as a gift. ahem.)
So these are just piddly little things, I know. There’s lots of other things that can be done, some taking more effort and money than others. But for those of us who go throughout the day trying really hard to minimize our impact, it would be really nice to have EVERYONE pitch in so we wouldn’t have to fret and work hard and feel utterly hopeless because, really, what difference can one household in Our Fair City make to offset the other hundreds of thousands of households who aren’t doing anything.
ok, off the soapbox.