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Blog Posted in avatar   Derrick Robertson's Blog

Earth Day for the Non-Tree Hugger

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By Derrick Robertson
Posted Apr 21, 2012 in World
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Putting this in a respectful context; most people don't think much about the environment until something happens that affects them personally, i.e. something a the drinking water which is making people sink, industrial accident that causes health problems to the nearby residents, or a company illegally dumping chemical/toxic waste too close to home. As a former news reporter, I've seen these scenarios a number of times and the outcome of the people involved is usually the same. They suddenly become environmentally-conscious. Suddenly they understand why its important to protect and preserve the environment. Not that everyone becomes a devout tree-hugger, but their awareness has certainly been raised to a whole new level.
So as tomorrow being Earth Day, I have some suggestions and ideas to help observe the occasion. For those of us who are not necessarily tree-huggers and for those who are.
For starters, get used to the term, 're…', as in recycle, recharge, reuse, etc. You'll be putting that into action when practicing these environmental conservation ideas and suggestions.
First. Recycle; papers, plastics, and glass are perhaps the three big recyclables around. Chances are, you probably are already doing it. If not, then take the initiative to do so. Contact your local municipality and find out about a recycling program in your area. Imagine the amount of land we can save by reducing the amount of waste by these three materials alone. Recycling is a great way to spend some family-time by teaching children the value of preserving the environment while instilling a positive, healthy lifestyle practice. And yes, I'll admit, recycling may take some getting used to. I remember when I first started doing it some years ago, but now it doesn't seem like such a chore anymore. But again, get the kids involved-if you have any.
Second. Re-use; particularly when it comes to those small plastic bags. Instead of just throwing them away, keep them and use them as liners for waste baskets around the house. If you're planning a garage sale, use them to bag the items for your customers. Or any other way you can use them. Although this is not a cure-all for keeping them from eventually going to waste, at least you can prolong it as much as possible. When grocery shopping, get usable bags. They're usually bigger and more durable than the paper and plastic bags. Its also makes for easier packing at the checkout counter.
Third. Recharge; I started using rechargeable batteries when I got my first digital camera. The sales clerk suggested it to me and has saved me money ever since. Rechargeable batteries help reduce the amount of mercury and other chemical waste on the environment. Albeit a little pricier than conventional batteries, rechargeables do save you money in the long run. If you have kids with battery-powered toys, you'll clearly see the savings.
Some other ideas/suggestion; buy into things biodegradable whenever possible. Having quality-made things is nice, but its not necessary for everything to last for thousands of years. Be mindful of you tech waste. As technology advances, this is becoming a growing problem among many third-world countries. When our pc's, laptops, smart phones, and tablets become obsolete, many of those devices end up in tech-waste dumps, usually in poor neighborhoods...in poor countries. And they don't exactly decompose. In my local area, our county has a computer/tech recycling program where we can take our old, unwanted devices and parts for proper disposal. I found out that most of the items can actually be rebuilt and recycled for other uses. Check with your county, state, or town for a similar program in your area. I also suggest donating your old, outdated PC or laptop to a tech-school, high school, or charity/community organization. Many women's shelters can use an unwanted cell phone and there are organizations where you can donate it. Keep in mind that non-profits love getting free stuff, so what's old and outdated to you maybe a blessing in disguise to someone else.
Save some electricity. While on the issue of mobile and tech devices, I like to recharge my cell with a solar cell phone charger. These come in handy when you're not near an AC outlet,(i.e. camping, in a foreign country, or in an emergency/disaster situation when there is no power available. Even in non-emergencies, they're cool conversation-makers when people see your phone charging without being plugged into a wall.
For more informaton on Earth Day, visit, Earthday.org
Happy Earth Day everybody. Go green.

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