About a week ago I received an e-mail from my sister-in-law regarding global warming. This is not unusual. My nuclear and extended family has been attuned to environmental issues for as long as I can remember. When I was 12 my parents joined a group called Co-FEC. I don’t remember exactly what that stood for, but the upshot was that it was Citizens for a More Effective Electric Cooperative. Or something. Our electricity came to us via a co-op and that co-op needed an overhaul … needed to be more responsive to the people it served and needed to be more environmentally friendly.
We participated in Green Up Day every single year. This is the first Saturday in May (so it was my birthday on several occasions) and citizens fan out across the state of Vermont to clean up the roadsides of all the winter litter that fell out of the snow.
I don’t know if we were active in the campaign to bring back bottle returns ($.05 per bottle) but I’m certain my parents wanted to be. We certainly recycle everything possible. And always have. We recycled as a family before there were recycling centers. We used things until they wore out and then tried to use them for something else. Until there was nothing left but shreds. Plastic toboggans which were no longer useful for sliding became carriers for wood for our woodstoves, until there was nothing left of the bottoms. It pains me to throw so much stuff away.
Soooo … back to the e-mail. She challenged us, her family, to be thinking about ways we can live more gently on this earth. Here is the text of the e-mail (it’s dated Jan. 30):
This Friday a large report on global warming will be made public. Watch the news. The report is issued by scientists from around the world from what I know. The lowdown is that global warming is not just for future generations to deal with…..serious effects, while already being felt, will escalate in the next 10 years.
We, as a family, plan to make changes in our lifestyle. What those are we don’t not yet know if full. If any of you have thoughts on this topic, I would love to hear about it.
I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit. Coming on the tail of the great pantry challenge, I’ve been caught by it. How will we change? What can we do?
My assumptions have always been that if everyone were to change a little bit. And then a little bit more. If we all committed to doing one little thing each quarter and holding to it. It doesn’t have to be the same thing, just one thing that commits us to living more gently on the earth, it will make a great difference. That we all separately are small drips, but together we can form a great flood.
My mother responded with some tips from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and a website called Go Carbon Neutral. The tips from the CBC are below:
1. Don’t idle your car or leave it running.
2. Turn down the heat.
3. Recycle, recycle, recycle.
4. Use compact flourescent light bulbs as much as possible.
5. Reduce air travel.
6. Buy renewable energy.
7. Buy less and buy local.
8. Trade up to Energy Star rated appliances.
9. Drive less.
10. Retrofit your home.
… and the LightMother noted that this will “… take a massive amount of reorienting our lives to meet this challenge – not unlike the changes during WWII when there was rationing and meatless Mondays so the troops had enough meat. Or WWI when there were heatless Thursdays (and businesses closed) so there was enough coal for the ships taking goods and men to Europe.”
So … what will you do? Become part of the flood, before the “flood.”
UPDATE:Â I love Vermonters and what they do when they come to Washington.Â James Jeffords, who recently retired from the US Senate, first came to DC as a Congressional Representative in the 1970’s during the oil embargo and resulting gas crisis.Â His response … install a woodstove in his DC office to reduce the need for petroleum.Â Similar leadership is now needed and Vermonters are among the first to provide it in Congress.Â Read this article from the Houston Chronicle … what I found astonishing was that the amount of money needed to offset the annual travel by a Representative and his staff was only $672 to for his whole office to become carbon neutral.Â His money quote follows here:
“That ads up,” Welch said. “So thousands of small actions are going to add up to a different way of doing business that can be good for the environment.”
Be part of the flood …