Originally posted on Facebook, this is biologist Dr. Michael E. Pereira’s “For Earth Week and Beyond: One Dozen Easy New Habits With Which to Help Limit Our Ongoing, Androgenic Mass Extinction.”
1. Say “NO” to plastic straws, in advance, all the time. Train yourself to tell your wait person for your entire group. Insist on it. 500 million are thrown out every day in the U.S. alone – enough to encircle Earth 2.5 times — Every. Single. Day.
2. Beside straws, say “NO” to ALL single-use plastic, including grocery bags, water bottles, soft-drink bottles, diapers, razors, zip-lock bags, cling wrap, etc., i.e., minimize consumption of ALL “disposable” conveniences. At 7.5 billion, there is no “away” to which to “throw.”
3. Know the plastics code, those little 1-7s embossed inside that “recyclable” triangle of 3 arrows on virtually every product, and avoid purchasing anything made of and/or wrapped in plastics not recycled by your community. And, of course, it goes without saying that we all should work much harder than most of us do to recycle absolutely everything a person can in our region.
4. Collaborate with accessible, too-little-known recycling providers, like Whole Foods, Preserve’s Gimme 5, and Terracycle. Look them up today.
5. Use mass transit, bicycle, car pool, and work from home. Every gallon of gas you combust puts 20 pounds (nearly 10 kg) of CO2 into our atmosphere. That means many of us put 140 TONS of new CO2 into our air every year just commuting to and from work. Every. Year.
6. Abandon ALL short-distance convenience driving. When your engine is cold, you don’t get anything close to what you think of as your car’s “average” miles per gallon. Appreciating that, reconsider Tip #5.
7. Conserve water, in every way you can imagine. For just a few obvious examples, don’t run water while brushing teeth OR between short rinses while showering, and begin replacing lawn by never watering it (and get your pitchfork & vegetable seeds ready [see #s 11 & 12 below])!
8. Especially important: radically reduce how often you eat meat, dairy, eggs, & fish weekly, as well as amounts eaten when you do. See the incredible recent documentaries “Cowspiracy” (Netflix) and “End of the Line” (Youtube’s Docurama).
9. Keep washable cups & utensils in your car for all family members’ use at coffee shops & fast-food restaurants. There is nothing preventing you from doing so, and if we use these while camping, why should we not also when every-day adventures lead to meals out? Additionally, take your recyclables home from restaurants (yes, you can & you may), and purchase only compostable plates & cutlery, if you insist on using “disposables” occasionally at home.
10. Chronically suggest with an encouraging smile (i.e., “demand”) distribution of only compostable cutlery (or use of dish washers) by all fast-food & cost-cutting restaurants that you patronize. And ask them, alongside yourself, to support this incredible man.
11. Support honeybees, native pollinators, and life in your watershed by replacing your lawns (ecological deserts made of exotic species) with pollinator gardens, endemic plants, and native landscape, using compost to fertilize.
12. Support your own health & food independence by replacing lawn with crops. Learn all-season gardening. Keep your hands in soil. Collaborate with neighbors to turn chunks of land into community-based organic farming. Yes… let’s consider that just one thing!
Read more of The Earth Week Series.