Is it too late to save this planet? Plus green pledges to try to make a difference

Then there’s a book titled Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of our Water by Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman, and Michael Fox. Written on the heels of the PBS documentary of the same title, it outlines how corporations are buying up water resources. What happened to getting your water from the tap?  When did “buying” water become so commonplace, even respectable?  I recently found out that my college-age sons were under the impression that bottled water was commonplace when I was growing up. So chances are if you are under 30, you, too, are under this false impression. Quick history lesson.  We had “glass” bottled sodas in the '60s. By the '70s we could get them in aluminum cans. I remember gallon water jugs being sold in grocery stores some time around the '80s and maybe they were around earlier than that, but I never bought one because there was no reason to. And individual plastic bottled water?  That probably gained popularity in the mid-'90s. Until recently I had bought into the whole thing. Read on.

I thought about what I’ve wanted to write for a while now. I’ve written rants, how-tos, what not to do, political drivel, etc., but I could never bring myself to upload any of it. I’ve finally taken the plunge and uploaded this commentary and one prior on environmental catastrophism, blame, inaction, and human biological attributes. Well, maybe its not that grand, but it sort of touches on those things. In addition I am holding myself responsible for being part of the problem. Hence, taking my cue from E. O. Wilson’s book, mentioned in my first blog, I have decided to devote my Green pages to helping myself become less of a hypocrite and more of a true environmentalist. In turn I would hope to motivate anyone out there reading this to do the same.

Is anyone listening?  I am going to make a pledge, here!

I pledge to take on twelve projects in the next twelve months. That’s right, twelve from the list below. Lest you think, “big deal,” please see the list. Some of these are life altering for me; some are easier than others. And I promise not to “work” the system, which I will explain as I list each project. Here they are. (I’ll take any suggestions, as well.)

-Composting: I’m already doing it, but not in a container. I’m just dumping in a specified spot in my backyard.  So I am going to build one.  If that fails then I will buy one.

-Taking on a vegetarian diet: Vegetables take in carbon and release oxygen. Am I doing an injustice in some way, you may ask. Not really, because the amount of methane being produced by livestock in this country is something like 40% of our GHG emissions. I won’t get into that now or the energy that goes into raising a cow, instead leaving that for another article. What I will say is that I tried going vegetarian a few years back, but did it the unhealthy way. I just ate anything, as long as there were no animal products in it. This time around I’ll try the healthier way. I shall start as soon as the meat in my freezer is gone - probably ten days or so.

-Rain barrels: Directions for building one abound on the internet. I’ve noticed that some of CL’s Green authors have already written about them. So how hard or expensive can it be?

-Fruit and vegetable farming: Well not quite “farming,” but a commitment to plant more fruit trees and keep them healthy, as well as grow my own veggies and herbs.

-Discontinue use of any chemical insecticides, pesticides, household chemicals, and/or fertilizers. (This should be interesting.)

-No more plastic water/soda/juice bottles. Not one! Which also means I will no longer support corporate bottled water to a small extent. (I will probably still buy a can of soda here and there though.)

[image-1]-No more plastic bags: I have reusables, but am constantly forgetting them. So no more forgetting, if I forget then I pledge to leave the store without another plastic bag or go home and get my reusables. (I know, waste of gas if I drive. I’ll try to work it out.)

-No more take home containers when dining: When I go out to restaurants I rarely ever finish my meal and usually need a take home container commonly referred to as a doggy bag. This will end today. I will bring my own container every time I go for dinner anywhere.Recycling: As I am already recycling my plastics, papers, bottles, cans, newspapers, and veggie scrapings I will convert a minimum of 5 individuals who do not recycle (and are not on the way to becoming recyclers).

-Recycling: As I am already recycling my plastics, papers, bottles, cans, newspapers, and veggie scrapings I will convert a minimum of 5 individuals who do not recycle (and are not on the way to becoming recyclers.

-I will volunteer one day a month for beach, etc. cleanups.

-I will ride my bike to distances of two miles or less (weather and health permitting). This means to friends’, Starbucks, grocery store, book store, health club, etc. I would ride to work, if we didn’t start before the sun comes up.

-Car pooling. I’ll put it out there to my colleagues.

-Temperature in home not to go below 80 degrees for air conditioning and heating no more than 69 (brrr).

-I will not buy a new pair of shoes, purse, wallet, clothes, etc. for one year. Ouch. Maybe I should just say I will decrease my personal spending. We’ll see which one works.

-I will work hard and diligently to get my hubby to agree to changing out all our windows (all 22 of them) for ones that are energy efficient.

-I will install energy-efficient light bulbs: I already have this job partly done, but I have dimmers and it just wasn’t working with these switches. However, I have since read somewhere that there were EE bulbs out that will now work with these switches. (I’ll dig a little more.)

Okay, that is 16. I will try to achieve 12 of them. As with anything I do, there is that risk of failure.  Just as long as I can get 12 of them by the end of the year I will have fulfilled my goals! Anyone care to come along for the ride?

Scattered about me are books and magazines. On one the poster child of the climate change movement, the polar bear swimming in icy clear water. Audubon chose the title Sink or Swim: Another Assault on the Arctic and How You Can Help Stop It. In all honesty, I think it’s too late. We are currently witnessing the fifth or is it the sixth mass extinction since life first emerged from the slime or rocks or whatever that latest scientific findings happens to suggest. But remember when compared to our life spans this extinction will take an insanely long time. So the urgency just doesn’t seem to be there, because if it did, then we would all be in the streets marching on Washington, D.C. and the United Nations demanding that something be done yesterday.

Another magazine, the April/May 2009 issue of Free Inquiry, has a time bomb on its cover. The number on the clock 6,790,064,816. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of August 16, 2009, at my time of 10:15 a.m., the human population is 6,845,146,634.  In 1960, it was 3 billion. By 2044, 9 billion. That’s a 6 billion jump in less than 100 years. For me, this is the number one problem plaguing Homo sapiens. There are just too many of us, which leads to greater and greater demands on water and food, both quite finite. And the energy demand will only increase GHGs if viable alternatives are not found - think China and India. If human population growth does not slow down, we will not have the resources to feed everyone. I have to smile when I think about the town hall meetings and the misinformation being propagated with end-of-life issues and death squads. If we don’t stop breeding who knows. Sounds like a great story for a movie, though. Oh wait! It’s already been done - Soylent Green.

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