Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Earth Hour, Earth Day... What's your Commitment?

This past Saturday many people around the world observed Earth Hour 2008. It's a great idea, a way to make us wake up and notice our habits and the impact we have. It is so easy to get caught up in the consumer culture and to forget the all-important planet that supports our lives.

It's all too easy to feel completely overwhelmed when faced with environmental problems and to become cynical. However, it's not that hard to change your habits, one at a time. You start by making one commitment to do something differently in your life. That becomes a habit. Then you take on another one. You never know who is watching what you do and learning from you. Our children and students definitely learn more from what we DO than from what we say.
Here are two of my commitments. One is to carry reusable bags when I go grocery shopping. I have 3 canvas bags that I keep in my car. After I unload, they go back in the car. I always knew I SHOULD do this, but one day I was listening to an interview on NPR with an environmentalist and the person was asked the question, "What is the right answer in the store, paper or plastic?" to which he replied, "Neither." Somehow, that was the moment that I made the commitment to bring my own bags to the store every time. Yes, I still sometimes find myself without my bags, but for the most part, it is a habit. 

My second commitment has been to buy a reusable water bottle. It was costly at $20, but I've now been using it every day for 9 months, so I believe that it has been well worth the money.I used to buy several plastic bottles each week.  This was an incredibly simple habit to change. Not only is this so much healthier for the Earth, it is healthier for the human as well. Plastic from bottles leeches into the liquid and is believed to contribute to many types of disease including breast cancer. 

Please leave a comment and share your commitment. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have started using my own water bottle and switched over to canvas bags this past year as well. Other changes I have made:
changing all possible light bulbs to the more energy efficient ones-the name escapes me at the moment.
I quit buying paper plates.
If I go out for coffee I take my own mug.
At school I try to do projects in the lab in which we don't print too often. I talk to the classes about not wasting ink/paper.

Looking forward to reading how others are making small changes.