My interest in all things “green” is continuing to evolve…as referenced in my recent posts such as the “global gas prices” and “carbon footprint”.
As I scour my reading sources for additional information on how to save the planet (vs a cheerleader)…the recent article in Money Magazine’s June edition by Jean Chatzky caught my eye. She discusses saving a buck AND saving the world. Now you have my attention.
Increasing the consciousness of the average consumer has historically (at least my impression) been through fear …ie the world is going to heat up 10 degrees celsius or the entire rainforest will be chopped down and used as timber for Ikea furniture in the next 15 years…etc. Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” or sites such as StopGlobalWarming attempt to educate but also leave the user with a sense of despair. The pendulum of fear and greed are basic motivational forces. We, as a capitalistic society, need to start using greed (vs fear) as a weapon to hasten change vs throwing mountains of data at a consumer and then telling them to start recycling and do their part (or else). Uh, talk about losing the message along the way.
Dont get me wrong…these prognostications may come true and the ocean may rise 10 feet as the glaciers in the artic region melt at an ever increasing rate. The following picture of a few hapless polar bears stranded on an iceberg was a powerful visual cue. The notation suggested they have been tracked swimming over a hundred miles (and are now drowning on occassion) as the break up of ice flows has made it increasingly more difficult for them to survive.
The polar bear, along with the open plains of the west, the rugged coastline of Oregon and other iconic imagery, have a place in my mind as bastions of freedom, and are idyllic. To lose one of them, awakens a sense of urgency, and peaks my interest in the outcome of this battle.
Not sure what I can do in my daily life to make a dent? Maybe I can drive my car a bit less, or turn off my A/C when leaving the house? I will paraphrase a few “to dos” from Jean and hopefully a viral approach to saving the environment will be more beneficial than seeing a movie about how the earth is heating up and feeling helpless without a sense of purpose on how to change the situation.
– Install a power strip: connect TVs, VCRs, microwaves, and other big appliances if possible. They use up to 10% of a given month’s energy bill even when turned off. Thus, when leaving for a weekend or a long trip, “unplug” them by turning off the strip. “Saving 10% on your electric bill could easily put $200 or more a year in your pocket”.
– Replace standard lightbulbs with the “squiggly compact fluorescent ones”. They use up to “75% less energy and last up to 10x longer”.
– “22 billion plastic bottles are discarded every year.” I recently bought a Nalgene 1,000 ml water bottle for work and a water filtration jug for my fridge. An easy way to reduce the plastic water bottle consumption. Very easy. Plus, I have grown fond of the taste of tap water. Make me feel alive.
– Bank online. This saves time, energy as well as personal headaches of payment, mail, stamps, etc. 18.5 million trees could be saved a year if all Americans banked online. This should be an easy one to implement for the average internet user.
Well, I am not sure this is going to move the proverbial “global needle”? But it beats sitting by and hoping for a better day with no grass roots activism…at least on a basic, micro level.