the one in which i tenuously use earth day as a reason to give away books
April 22nd, 2010
So, it’s Earth Day. Woop-dee-dooh. In times as perilous as these, even a boring government report from the Project on Climate Science* is sounding the alarm:
The report, a draft of the Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report that will be sent to the United Nations, says bluntly: “Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced … Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.”
Anyhow, one day is not enough. Every day we have to do stuff. And really, it’s not enough that we do it. All the recycling, composting, bicycle riding and vegan-eating in the world isn’t enough if our governments don’t step in a a very big way and cap the amount of greenhouse gasses we spew and come up with some alternative energy sources. (My god, what is Gayle doing? This is sounding like a science lesson. Make. Her. Stop. Hang with me, guys; free books coming up).
So, look, you’re the ones inheriting the mess. The best thing you can do is bug your elected officials or bug your parents to bug your elected officials, and maybe you need to educate your parents, too. Because Drill, Baby Drill, fun as it is to say, just won’t cut it.
Ok, enough lecturing. Onward to book giving away.
Here’s the deal.
Tell me what you’re doing in the name of environmental preservation, to keep the planet from turning into a Wall-E esque hellhole. Don’t be afraid to have modest goals. Recycling counts. Riding your bike counts. Working with the Sierra Club counts. Refusing plastic bags counts. Here are a handful of things I do:
I shop at the Park Slope Food Coop. I buy lots of local, organic, not genetically modified stuff. When I buy meat, it’s from cows that ate grass on farms. Chickens from birds that lived in coops and ran around. If you want to know how important this is, read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.
I refuse, refuse, refuse to use plastic bags. I carry one of those fold up nylon bags in my purse. Those things are lifesavers. Willa, when she sees plastic bags floating in trees, loves to point out that’s why “Mommy hates plastic.” That and the fact that they’re made of petroleum, wind up in landfill and are unnecessarry.
I share a car. With my best friend. Her husband actually because she HATES to drive. I don’t know how much this actually helps because the car is kind of a guzzler and I dream of hybrids and I have the car most of the time, though I don’t drive it much, but the fact that we’re two families with car between us is kind of cool.
I continue to use reusable water bottles even though I have killed many a cell phone that way. Bottled water is a SCOURGE. And New York City has awesome drinking water. Don’t believe me? Read this.
I buy clothes at consignment stores. It’s a form of recycling. It’s fun. And how else do you get a practically new BCBG dress for $12? I have been wearing it all tour.
Needless to say, I recycle everything I can. All paper gets used back and front before it’s recycled. Electronic equipment never gets put in the trash. Batteries, either. We give away as much as we can so it doesn’t go in the trash. And try not to buy too much crap so it won’t wind up in the crash.
But that’s not enough. I have bigger dreams. I really want a Green House. One that is so energy efficient that I can sell power back to the utility company but I need to a) buy a house and b) be able to completely renovate it. But that’s in the mental works at any rate. And if I have a house, I can get a yard and cut down on a lot of my garbage by composting. I once did an article for SELF magazine where I collected every piece of trash I created during the day and had experts analyze it and the amount of wet (compostable) trash I made–it was like half of it.
Okay, enough about me. What do you do? What would you like to do better? I’ll give away four signed books to the most inspiring Greeniacs.
Happy Earth Day!
*Thank you Obama Administration for putting, um scientists, in charge of these reports as opposed to you know, lobbyists for coal mines and stuff.