Friday, April 25, 2008

Don't Know Much About . . .

Currently I'm reading a book called "Don't Know Much About History" which is a brief synopsis of American history, with a rather humorous spin. I will admit that I have had, in the past, a rather blase attitude about history in general. It has often been the history of white men, the history of the winner of the war, not my history.

I really just didn't care all that much about the subject. But the more that happens in today's world where politics and foreign policy is concerned, the more attention I find myself paying to our past. George Bernard Shaw says "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." As Americans, we have fallen into this cycle of electing presidents who promise to take our country along the path where it is already going, even if those promises come with the word "CHANGE." We cannot do an about-face as a country, it is impossible.

Nor do we need to. I believe that what is most important is that we look at where we have come from and learn from it. I believe that the planet is facing a crisis of environment which we have never before had to face, and thus, we do not expect what is coming. We can only hypothesize about global warming, about environmental contamination, about the effects of recycling. These things will play themselves out over time, but it might then be too late.

What would happen if we had a radical transformation that made it easy for people to be environmentally socially conscious? If we didn't charge $100 for a monthly bus pass so more people would ride? If we didn't hear the unbelievable excuse that it costs too much to grown CORN which is why the alternative hybrid fuel is being delayed. Currently, gasoline is averaging $3.50 a gallon. We paid over $6 a liter while vacationing in the Czech Republic this past winter. And you know what? There weren't a lot of cars out there. People walked or rode their bikes.

We shouldn't have to punish our planet for our mistakes. We should be able to have the forethought to anticipate what our lives are doing to the only thing we have to survive - the Earth. We can't fight it, the planet will always win. She will eventually shrug us off as though we were fleas.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Earth Day y'all!

I love Earth Day, if for nothing else, it is an attempt to get people connected with the awareness that life on the planet is valuable, Earth's resources are finite and we can all do our part to change.

Handsome and I watched a program the other night called "Human Footprint" on the National Geographic channel. Wow. Basically, the show uses visual imagery to define how much the average person consumes over the course of her life. Wow. The amount of food we eat, the amount of trash we produce, the amount of diapers each baby uses, is absolutely staggering.

I asked Handsome recently if we should start reusing our zip-style plastic bags, you know, to save the planet. After giving me that look, he said no. If we really wanted to save the planet, we wouldn't be using the zip-style plastic bags at all. We'd be using aluminum foil, or porcelain bowls, for our food storage. *sigh*

So here are some of my tips for going green this Earth Day.

1. Eliminate unwanted junk mail catalogs by visiting and enrolling in It is a free service where you sign up, click on the catalogs you are receiving which you don't want to receive, enter the various names by which you may be receiving the catalogs (I have this issue because of the married/maiden last name thing), or various addresses where you may be receiving catalogs, and you're done.

2. If you can pay your bills online, do it. Eliminate getting paper statements from your credit card companies. This will not only save the environment from copious amount of paper trash, saving millions of trees from being chopped down, but it will also slim down your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.

3. At the office, print on both sides of the page. Our office uses a ton of paper, but we are beginning to print drafts of documents on both sides so that we are not being so wasteful. Every little bit helps, really!

4. Get a low-flow toilet. I'm sure Handsome will love me preaching about plumbing, but the toilet is the biggest water hog in your house. Handsome would tell me that some people have bodily functions that simply overwhelm low-flow toilets. For those people, they even have Dual-Flow toilets! Yep, full flush for solids, low-flush for liquids. (In college, my roommate and I had the saying "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down!" We were the ultimate water conservators.)

5. Take the bus! I could espouse all day about the advantages of riding the bus, but I'll just say that buses are becoming more alternative fueled and environmentally friendly than ever before. Never mind the fact that the 30 people who are riding with you are not out in their individual cars each day. And the books you can read, or the naps you can take, or the tunes on your ipod you can listen to, or the gas and parking costs you won't have to pay, are well worth the price of the ticket.

Happy Earth Day all, may this planet be blessed with conscious inhabitants.