On this Earth Day I'm taking the time to reflect on what I'm doing to preserve the Earth, and what I can do better. I'm thinking about the poor polar bears, the people affected by drought, and the rising sea levels forcing people to relocate. Yes, I do a few things to conserve, but I could do a lot better.
What I Do To Make The Earth Better:
1. I took a conservation class in college, and the teacher had us write all of our assignments on used paper notices and used posters. I still remember walking around campus trying to find an old poster to hand in my report. Now while I'm teaching flute, I write my students' scale assignments on the backs of old sheet music pages or in the covers of their music books.
2. I started using tote bags at the grocery store instead of using their plastic bags. I thought this would make life harder, but the tote bags are actually easier to carry and preserve the groceries better than the plastic ones. All you have to do is remember to bring them each time you shop- which is probably the hardest part for me.
3. I take short showers and I have my water heater on a timer, so it only goes on at certain times of the day when I use it. Not only does this help with my water bill and my electric bill, it saves the Earth. Also, it gives me more time to be productive instead of standing around in the shower doing nothing.
4. I use email whenever possible instead of regular mail. This is much faster and less time consuming. I've had all my bills converted to emails as well. It's better for my own organization. I can lose papers, but emails I can store indefinitely in cyberspace.
5. I focus on collecting achievements and memories instead of collecting "things." This was especially hard for me in the clothes department- because I am a clothes hoarder. But, do I really need five blue sweaters? Ten pairs of flipflops? Fifteen suit coats? I don't have a really big house anyway, so when my closets started to fill, I had to really look at what I was buying and question if I really needed it, or if I had something at home a lot like it.
6. I'm working on having less food waste at the end of the week. I'm buying frozen strawberries instead of fresh ones, because I always end up throwing away the bottom part of the container. They go bad faster than I can eat them. I also try to finish a loaf of bread instead of throwing away the last few slices and starting a new one. Salad always goes bad, so I try to eat that first before I eat the frozen veggies I've bought. It's hard, and I end up going to the grocery store mid week sometimes, but it does save money and help the earth.
Okay, now here's the hard part...
What I Could Do To Make The Earth Better:
1. I could drive less. I use a whole ton of gas going to my far away gigs and my job at PSU. I could work harder at carpooling and stay home more on the days I have off. Do I really have to drive around town sometimes because I'm bored and want to walk around the mall? No. I should walk more.
2. I could turn off the lights more. I tend to leave a light on at night in the kitchen, and I really only need a nightlight. I also forget to turn off the lights when I leave a room. I leave my computer on way too long because I hate to wait for it to start up.
3. I could bring my coffee mug when I get coffee instead of using a paper cup. It's hard to remember, and I hate having to bring it in from the car and wash it out, but that would definitely help.
4. I could be more active in wildlife organizations. I could donate.
5. I could use my ereader more instead of buying real books.I like the feel of a real book, so this is hard for me but my shelves are getting full.
What about you? What are you doing now and what could you do better?
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