Go Green! That is the new war cry of everyone from food manufacturers to financial institutions, as more and more people take on the responsibility for preserving our environment.
As citizens of the world, each of us is responsible for the health of our planet. Our choices and our actions contribute to the well being or deterioration of the environment. Yet, it’s our earth, the only one we have. If we don’t care about the environment, who will?
Who will preserve the quality of the air? Who will restore our natural resources? Who will help make the planet safe for many generations to come? You will! Anyone and everyone can participate in making our world a safer, less harmful place.
Have you ever thought about how your choices affect the earth’s well being and how you can minimize the impact you and your family make on the environment? From the cars you drive to the products you consume, every choice you make on a daily basis has a consequence for the environment.
Why should you care about the environment?
How about for your health and the health of your children? How about for your quality of life and that of other citizens of the planet? How about for the choices you have of resources that are now being depleted? How about for the air you breathe and the water you drink?
Our natural environment becomes unbalanced and unsustainable when it is polluted and stripped of its natural resources by over-consumption. Our lives are at stake as we find our health being affected by environmental toxins in the air, water, and foods we consume. Our earth is a fragile planet with limited resources. The growing threat of climatic changes means everyone from individuals to businesses must reassess their environmental impact and daily choices.
If you don’t think this situation is critical, here are some facts to consider:
- We use 50% of the Earth’s land area for food production and 50% of the Earth’s available fresh water for drinking.
- The main source of water pollution is not chemical waste but the excrement of farm animals.
- About 70% of the world’s marine species are at risk of extinction.
- By the year 2100, extinction may reach one third of all species now living.
- Animals raised for food currently generate between 15 and 20% of methane emissions globally.
- Every ton of recycled office paper saves 380 gallons of oil.
- Around 50 million tons of paper are consumed annually by Americans, more than 850 million trees are cut down.
- Each year, over 63,000 square miles are destroyed resulting in more than half the world’s tropical forests being lost.
We are changing the climate and health of the planet by our every choice. What can you do to show you care about the environment and contribute to its health and longevity? Lots. Here are just a few suggestions. For more ways to save the environment, check some books out of the library or do some online research.
1. Conserve energy at home.
Fix leaky faucets, turn off lights and appliances when not in use, and buy energy efficient products. Check showerheads and toilets for leaks, and consider low flow models. Reduce the settings on water heaters and household thermostats; limit use of air conditioning. Make sure your home is efficiently insulated.
2. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Dispose of harmful materials properly, re-use or recycle things you no longer need, and place recyclables in proper bins for pick up. For every ton of paper recycled, 17 trees are saved.
3. Buy safe products.
Don’t support toxic materials such as home improvement products like paint with lead or food products with pesticides. Buy organic produce when possible, and learn what products are safest for your consumption and for the health of the planet.
4. Drive conservatively.
Carpool or take public transportation when you can, and consolidate your trips for gas conservation. Observe speed limits, and avoid rapid acceleration and excessive breaking and idling. Ride a bike and walk for local errands. Research how you can reduce carbon emissions by keeping your car in top shape. Keep tires properly inflated to improve gas mileage. Every 10 days, drivers with under-inflated tires and poorly maintained engines waste 70 million gallons of gasoline.
5. Green up your life.
Switch to solar energy at home if feasible, grow as much of your own food as you can, use natural fiber clothing, and make your own cleaning and beauty care products.
Educate yourself as much as possible about the environmental issues that concern every earth citizen, and start taking actions that show you care about the environment. Be a role model and leader for others. Each individual contributes to the success of the whole. Go green now!
For an informative slide show on the environment visit: www.colleges.org/enviro/workshops/2006/WadeWorthen_WhySaveEnviro.ppt
For more facts about how you can preserve the environment check out these sites: www.worldwatch.org/node/3915 and www.usa.gov/Citizen/Facts/Facts_Environment.shtml.