I'm sure you've all heard it before, but: What about the starving kids in Africa?!? We Americans are so used to excess that we entirely take it for granted. Waste is part of everyday life with no thought to the millions of people in this world who don't have enough let alone anything to waste. We live in a land of the plentiful while a large part of the world lives in what's closer to wasteland. And while I don't want to get into a political discussion, because that's not my purpose here, I will broach a humanitarian one.
This past weekend my father and I got to talking about the BP oil spill and the larger effects of it. My immediate reaction was that we need to be more dependent on clean energy sources like wind and solar power and his was that it is impossible to provide enough energy through those sources. Whether this is entirely true or not (neither of our bases of information were thorough or up to date enough to stake those kinds of claims), we did agree that the base of the issue is consumption. We just use too much!
If we could all cut back a bit and be more conscious of what we're using and at the same time put our efforts towards developing clean energy sources, it's much more likely that we could come to a more peaceable place.
In Alicia Silverstone's blog she writes that Americans use some 21 million barrels of oil per day and we only produce about 6 million! The average American is said to produce some 1600 lbs of waste each year! We use 127% more water than we did in 1950 and 95% of the water entering our homes goes down the drain! That's just silly! It is easy and doable to cut back. Here are a handful of ways:
- Turn off all lights in any rooms you are not in and unplug any appliances you are not using!
- Use rags and cloth napkins in place of paper towels and paper napkins.
- Wash your clothing in cold water cycles.
- Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.
- Recycle anything in your house that your city allows for.
- Avoid the use of plastics whenever possible.
- Eat leftovers!
- Don't eat meat, dairy, or any animal byproducts
And most importantly, don't take for granted everything we are offered here. We are lucky to be in the position to have things to take for granted. Let's make an effort to pay-it-forward a bit by using less, appreciating more, and giving back whenever and wherever we can!
Here are some effects of our wastefulness and ignorance: