Friday, June 5, 2009

Spare Some Change? Here's Two Sense

If you're like me, you sometimes feel overwhelmed when thinking of how to solve global warming. You feel like it is on your shoulders to fix the problem. However, if we really want to change the course of global warming, like Michael Jackson said, we have to start with the wo/man in the mirror. If you aren't like me, but still are concerned with global warming, there are many things you can do.

We must start with ourselves and at home. A large paradigm shift change must be made on a foundational level, and that means person by person. It may be a little uncomfortable for some to alter the way they live. Some don't want to give up air conditioning. Others will drive to the store that would have taken a 5 minute walk to get to. But if we are serious about the care of the environment, we must make these small changes first. Only then we can go on systemically attacking big business and industry to make changes. However, until we show that we as individuals can change, how can we expect anyone else to?
I can offer an endless list of what you can do to save here and there. Instead I will hit a few major points, ones that can have a great effect, with minimal sacrifice. Then after these baby steps, you will be able to create your own steps of change. They are ranked from least uncomfortable to down right scratchy wool sweater in African mid-summer uncomfortable.

Beginner
1. Walk more. It's good for you, free, and uses nothing.
2. Turn off lights appliances when you aren't using them. Although this seems like common sense, it is far from commonplace.
3. Use a fan instead of A/C. Or rather open a window and let nature cool you.
4. Wear a sweater when it gets warm rather than turning up/on the heat.
5. Be conscious of the amount of resources you use and follow the three r's: reduce (most important), reuse, and recycle. You'd be surprised at how many uses you can find for a bag or a Starbucks coffee cup.
6. Turn off the TV, computer (I should say), video game, and find a better hobby.
7. Use the sun to dry your clothes.

Intermediate
1. Ride a bike or take public transport to work/play.
2. Carpool with coworkers or others going in the same direction.
3. Grow some of your own food. Buy local, then buy organic, then buy conventional.
4. Be a conscious consumer, which means to consume less, and to make explicit decisions based on criteria important to you (ie. business ethics, product life, product necessity, packaging, recyclability, etc.)

Advanced
1. Use your voice to petition/boycott companies that have a history of environmental destruction. Pick your battles wisely as there are so many causes, you may get distracted if you aren't focused.
2. Grow alot of your own food. Share surplus with others.
3. If you are a homeowner, take steps to green-ify your house. Better insulation, solar panels, better windows, etc. If remodeling, use environmentally responsible materials and methods.
4. Volunteer for habitat/environment rebuilding and restoration. Plant trees, restore wild areas.
5. Join a community program related to sustainability and environmental issues. Saving the Amazon is a great and noble cause, but usually it is the local problems that you can actually influence for the better (or worse).
6. Make others aware of your concerns, either by action or by talking.

Master
1. Teach others to garden, live, and be sustainable. In short, make clones of yourself.

I classify myself as mid to low intermediate. I hope to someday attain mastery of change. Until then, I will work my way up and continue to blog.

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