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    Posted April 22, 2011 by
    gailpowell
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Gulf oil disaster: Messages in sand

    More from gailpowell

    Make Every Day a.....Happy Earth Day!

     

    A year has now passed since the environmental debacle that occured in the Gulf and we find another Earth Day upon us as well. Seems like these two events-an oil spill and Earth Day- would offset one another in the grand scheme of things regarding  Mother Nature. As dire and distressing as the BP spill was and as terrible the environmental consequences it engendered, there is always the hope that we as a people and we as a species can move forward from disasters such as the BP spill with a renewed emphasis on doing to the right thing for the earth.

     

    In that regard, it is important to keep in mind that a particular mindset will be helpful in this evolution of consciousness. If one is truly sincere about making changes to accomodate protection of the earth, then those small, incremental steps start right with you.

     

    Rather than allow yourself to become over-whelmed, go about realigning your existence with our planet one step at a time. Focus your efforts on something that can be done successfully and give you an impetus to move forward on other earth-friendly habits. For instance, start by turning the water off in the bathroom when you are brushing your teeth to help save H20.

     

    Next, turn off the lights in your house when they are not needed and make a habit of that-to save money on your electric bills but also to reduce consumption of utilities. Stop your dishwasher when it hits the dry cycle and open the dishwasher door to let the contents air dry also saves electricity. As much as possible, walk or ride your bike rather than always automatically hopping in your car. The exercise and fresh air is fantastic and with gas prices so high, you'll save some money too. Carry reusuable cloth shopping bags to the grocery store to cut down on the usage of plastic and paper bags.

     

    Recycling is something a lot of people already do, but take it a step further, and start by recycling all paper  and cardboard products not contaminated by food debris. That means newspaper, egg cartons, cereal boxes, even empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls.

    Start a compost garden and bury all your kitchen scraps such as egg shells, apple cores, banana peels, orange rinds and used tea bags. I next collect free used coffee grounds from Starbuck's and Peet's to cover up the leftovers so that marauding skunks and raccoons will not be inclined to dig through and help themselves to the compost spoils.

    The earthworms that you will start to see  propogate in your garden soil will turn every flower, shrub, plant and seed into a healthy, magically verdant piece of garden greenery.

     

    Learn to collect gray water or use leftover water from the sink to irrigate your outdoor plants. The Surfrider Foundation chapter in San Diego that I volunteer for has an Earth Friendly Garden campaign that seeks to get the word out about ditching high maintenance lawns and gardens that suck water up and replant and rehorticulture towards a new outdoor milieu of native plants and drought-tolerant shrubbery.

     

    Another thing to ditch: clothes dryers, They contaminate the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and are unnecessary here in California where a well-placed clothesline is all you need to dry laundry in God's fresh air. About all I ever use a clothesdryer for anymore is to make sure my son's work clothes are wrinkle free.

     

    Last but not least is plastics pollution. Another Surfrider campaign is Rise Above Plastics and this is a biggie! Plastic pollution has now reached its mottled hand out into the oceans where rotating currents conspire to send our plastic refuse swirling around into lethal graveyards of marine debris. This trash collecting in the middle of our oceans is overwhelmingly plastic and it does not break down or biodegrade easily.

    The thing to remember here is the mantra:  reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce your purchases of plastics, if you can and reuse what you do buy. Once the usage cycle is completed-recycle.Automatically.

     

    More and more plastics are now capable of being recycled. Previously unrecyclable hard plastics like laundry soap containers are now fully recyclable and single use plastic containers like yogurt cups should automatically be rinsed out and added to your blue city recycling container. Small practices like these I have described will manifold in number and begin to effect a slow change that is the palpable beginning of the process of real change. I do not wish to sound preachy and I hope that I am not singing to the choir here. Earth Day is as good a day as any to spread the word of individual nature activism.

     

    We simply must eliminate the amount of waste that we put into our environment.  We must do more and make more of an effort to keep our oceans, bays and lakes clean. We have to get serious about the environmental dilemnas that confront us and not bury our heads in the sand. By changing our habits and our priorities, it will be possible to make that evolutionary transition to a cleaner, more sustainable world. One where every day is a HAPPY EARTH DAY!

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