Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Drought: A New Perspective

As you know, I have been extremely concerned about the conditions in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa due to the current drought. This is a concern that I share with many on my adoption forum on the CHSFS website . There have been posts and some amazing forum family members who have gone to great extremes to get aid to those in need. I am sure many of us have donated money to various charities, yet perhaps still feel there is something we could and should be doing.
I know it may not be much, and I know that there are many other reasons why the people of Ethiopia are suffering, but I couldn't help put my two most passionate causes together...Ethiopia and the environment. I ran across this article while doing some research and, although it is old and referring to the last major drought and subsiquent famine, I know the problem still exists. Global warming has been a hot topic lately and I am sure that many people feel they can't do much to contribute to its reversal, but there are many things, simple things that we can do to feel like we are doing EVERYTHING we can to make sure Marley's first family doesn't have to suffer and live in squalor while "we" continue to live a life a frivilous excess.
So, here, in no particular order, are 10 things you can do to help reduce global warmimg (some no brainers, some "major give ups")
1. Bring cloth bags to any store where you shop, it's not just grocery stores that use bags...Walmart, Target, Macy's...and/or recycle your plastic and paper bags.
2. Replace your most frequently used lights for CFLs...turn off the lights when you leave the room.
3. Unplug appliances and charges when not in use...do not leave your cell phone charger or lap top plugged in when the they aren't attached or being used...unplug the toaster, blender, electric razor etc. when you are done using them.
4. Buy organic and locally grown/produced ANYTHING when it's available...it's not only good for you to eat organic produce, it's good for the environment when pesticides aren't being used, that includes things like cotton, hair care products and makeup! And when they are grown/manufactured locally they don't have to drive/fly as far to get to you!
5. Drive a hybrid, drive less and drive smart by inflating your tires and keeping on schedule with oil and filter changes...shop once a week instead of every few days...keeping your fridge stocked also helps keep you from waisting energy...and don't leave your fridge open after you retreive an item (my hubby has difficulties with this one and I am now known as the fridge police...and the water police...whci leads me too...).
6. Don't run the water while you are brushing your teeth or shaving. Turn the water on and off when you need it...also, fill up your sink when doing the dishes instead of running the water continuously...you will see a savings in your water bill as well!
7. Do your laundry in cold water and cancel the dry cycle on your dishwasher, your clothes and dishes will get just as clean...and make sure both are full before running them...and combine loads of laundry in the drier (yes, that probably counts for more than one point but...)
8. Recycle and use recycled products as much as possible!! You will be amazed at the amount of things that can be recylcled!! Look for products that use post consumer waste...don't buy paper towels or napkins, use cloth, reusable or recylced/biodegradable brands (Trader Joe's has lots of these paper products).
9. Plant a tree...anywhere!
10. Don't eat meat...ok, I know all you meat and potato types are trying to pick yourself up off the floor right now because you are laughing so hard (believe me, I am an Atkins addict and this one was hard for me to swallow!!) If you can't give up meat (and/or dairy) altogether, then at least try for a meatless Monday (or any one day out of the week) when you don't consume livestock. If you think about the fact that the amount of grain and water it takes to feed a cow could feed (and water) an entire village where our children's first families live, you might reconsider!!
As I said, I know this isn't the be all end all, but for me, it makes me feel like I am doing something everyday (I just recently gave up beef...which was really hard today when the organic fillet mignon at Trader Joe's looked so inviting) to try to make a difference in a land I am now forever connected to.
Here are a few sites with some more information. E the Environmental magazine is another fabulous resource!!

No comments: