Helping the planet and the pocket.
Professor Nicole Darnall, ASU, outlines what can be done.
At home, we subscribe to the Payson Roundup, our local newspaper, and in the April 10th edition there was a full back-page article written by Pete Ayleshire, Editor, about …. well let me quote from the on-line copy,
Save the planet.
That’s the message Arizona State University professor Nicole Darnall delivered recently to a roomful of savvy planet
huggers at the Women’s Wellness Forum. The daylong event drew about 240 women to listen to speakers on an array of topics.
Darnall offered a gripping presentation that started with global disaster, but ended with a reassuringly doable list of steps individuals can take to solve the seemingly overwhelming problems.
As I wrote at the end of last Friday’s article on Autism and bees, “I hope to publish a summary of a fascinating presentation given to a local women’s group here in Payson that shows the many obvious and easy steps we can all take to revert back to a resilient life on this planet.“
It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the barrage of ‘doom and gloom’ stories that abound and, make no mistake, if each of us do nothing, the future does look ‘interesting’!
I don’t know about you but the degree of awareness of the changes we all need to make is huge and growing. So Prof. Darnall was right on the button when she spoke to that women’s forum. For instance,
“Livestock generates more greenhouse gases than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet,” said Darnall. In part, that’s because the methane from, well, the other end of cows, has 21 times the greenhouse gas warming effect as carbon dioxide.
Darnall’s solution? Meatless Mondays — to start curving that scary trend line.
A few paragraphs later,
The average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash daily. Of that, 75 percent can be recycled — but less than 30 percent actually ends up recycled.
Worse yet, we discard half of the food we produce, which works out to 474 pounds of wasted food per person.
Once again: The answer lies surprisingly close to home.
Start a composting bin: That would reduce discarded trash by about one-third — while increasing the health of your garden, not to mention averting the production of chemical fertilizers.
Then there’s this …..
Quit buying the plastic water bottles that add 25 million items to the waste stream every day. After all, tap water must meet higher health and purity standards than bottled water.
And not forgetting …..
Worried about all the bleach and other chemicals used in household cleaning products? No problem, said Darnall — before offering up a recipe for environmentally friendly scouring involving vinegar and baking soda. You can also ditch the ammonia in the window cleaner, with a mixture of corn starch — great for smudged mirrors and spots in the carpet.
Then this touched the spot for this part of Arizona with this year’s rainfall already far below the 30-year average.
Worried about the reckless use of fresh water, with predictions of longer deeper droughts well established?
Shorter showers can save 150 gallons each time — and a low-flow shower head can save 175 gallons a month. Get rid of the lawn, cut the water bill by 60 percent.
Rounding off by …..
But here’s the kicker, she said — you can save your wallet by saving the planet.
Make your cleaning products and you not only protect streams you also save money.
Change over to LED lights, you not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions — you save money.
Install solar tubes and you reduce greenhouse gases — and save money.
Eat less meat and reduce global warming — and also lose weight.
And heck: You might even make the cows happy.
Delightful close to the article that is Pete Ayleshire all over. (Pete teaches the creative writing class at the local extension college that Jean and I have been attending for two terms.)
It seems to me that one of the many lucky aspects of living in Payson is having the Arizona State University (ASU) School of Sustainability in the area and being able to draw on the expertise of people such as Prof. Darnall.
So look around and see what small steps you can take to make a difference, and start those small changes. As in the words of an old saying from my England days, ‘By the inch, it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard!‘