Wednesday, April 22, 2009
earth day '09
Happy Earth Day, everybody! Click on over to EcoWomen: Protectors of the Planet and enter our comment contest today!
The state of the planet today is a mixed bag, as it was back in 1962 when Gaylord Nelson first began the Earth Day movement (it wasn't an official holiday until 1970). Our messed-up economy has brought our planet some blessings: fewer people driving, lower bottled water sales, reduced consumerism and increased incentives for people to save money on energy costs. That said, developing nations like China are a toxic cesspool of pollution, we've got more chemicals in our water and food supply than ever before and we continue to lose our planet's biodiversity at a mind-numbing pace. To keep it in perspective, there's this. Yeah, you read that right. Plastic bag manufacturers, in a nod towards consumer backlash, are offering to develop plastic shopping bags that use 40% recycled material--in 6 years. Whatever. Thanks, but no thanks, guys. Holy green-washing, Batman!
Bottom line: more people are serious about environmentalism. Living green is no longer a profane idea. That said, plenty of people still don't get it.
A great case in point is my town. Recently we adopted a new garbage collection system--every household got a trash barrel provided by the county. The trucks sort of scoop up the barrels, reducing energy, labor and blown over trash barrels (in theory). Our new garbage bin is a whopping 65 gallons--4/5 of my family can physically fit inside this hog. (Our old trash barrel, now consigned to composting our food & yard scraps, holds 15 gallons.) Garbage collection is still weekly. Recycling collection? Reduced to every other week. So, larger garbage cans and weekly pick up came alongside reduced recycling pick up. Not environmentally friendly by any stretch in my book. People are now less encouraged than ever to recycle and more encouraged to chuck their waste in the landfill because Hey! This bad boy holds 65 gallons--plenty of room!
I'm going to hang my laundry on the clothesline now (washed in eco-friendly Seventh Generation detergent). Then I'm going to drink my homebrewed with tap water Fair Trade coffee and ponder what else I can do to live greener and leaner this year. (Don't you despise people who are all self-righteous and virtuous? They disgust me too.)
I raise my cup to everyone working on reducing their footprint this year. Cheers to you!