Today is Blog Action Day. More than 15,000 blogs representing more than 12 million readers worldwide writing about one thing: the environment.
Over the most recent few years, we’ve learned about the increasing signs – in some instances, much faster than many scientists had originally imagined – of an emerging climate crisis. While our public leadership has remained largely intransigent in their thinking, individuals and even corporations have been taking steps to remedy, and even profit from remedies, to global climate change.
What can we, ordinary residents, homeowners and voters do about climate change? The problem sometimes seems so big, it’s hard to imagine we can make a difference.
But we can make a difference.
First, think about the environment. Think about how your actions affect the environment.
If you own or rent a residence, arrange to purchase Green Power, from your electrical utility. If you get your electricity from Puget Sound Energy, sign up for their Green Power program. It’s easy, not too expensive, and you’ll be supporting the efforts of one of the country’s foremost developers of renewable electrical resources.
Encourage local businesses to sign up for Green Power, too. Most business do not, but they could. They need to know that you want them to use Green Power.
If you drive a car, purchase carbon offsets. A carbon offset is an investment which supports the development of renewable energy resources roughly equivalent to the carbon output of your vehicle. Carbon offsets are also available for airline travel. Carbon offsets represent an investment in building a reduced-carbon economy.
If you shop for anything, use reusable bags. The question is no longer, “Paper or plastic?” Bring your own bag and use it over and over. As we have written on this blog before, “broken, degraded plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. That means six pounds of plastic for every single pound of zooplankton.” Which means, when birds and sea animals or looking for food — more often, they are finding plastic.
Recycle. Most of our communities have good curbside recycling programs in place. Use them; they’re very easy.
Compost. If this and recycling gets you to a smaller-sized garbage can, that’s great. Even if it doesn’t, though, it’s easy to do and an important component to reducing the quantity of material that goes into our community’s landfills.
Reuse. Join the local Freecycle group or find a similar group, to help find new homes for useful stuff that you would otherwise throw away. In addition to Freecycle, FreeSharing and Sharing is Giving are clearinghouses for these kinds of local reuse groups.
Buy organic. Even better, buy local organic. Setting aside debates regarding whether organic is more healthful for you to eat, there’s the issues regarding the commercial production of food. Organic is generally a much more friendly method of food production. With locally-produced organic, you can be assured your organic purchases weren’t shipped from great distances. Ask your local grocer to not only label the organic food she sells, but label it by its source.
Vote. Make those who would be your elected representatives tell you what they will be doing to address global climate change. Understand the effect that your local government, largely through its land use policies, has on global climate change. Help convert your concern about the environment into policy by making your elected representatives understand the importance of the issue of global climate change. The policies we establish, now and in the near future, could result in either new economic opportunities or warfare over scarce and changing resources.
Talk. Ask others what they are doing, to combat global warming. Talk to your elected representatives about what they plan to do.
Again, just think about the environment. Think about how your actions affect the environment.
— MARK MESSINGER