Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day, 2011

Once again, it's Earth Day, which is a day to inspire people to think about the planet we live on, and our place in it.
Caption: Mt. Rainier from the BPA Trail, last December.

Image credit: Cujo359

I like to remember the wisdom of George Carlin on this day:
[T]here is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We've been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we're a threat?
...
The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does.

George Carlin's "The Planet Is Fine"
Earth Day, whether its organizers are aware of this or not, is really about preserving our place on this planet. It's about making it safe for us for as long a time as possible. The planet, as Carlin said, will be just fine whether we're here to enjoy it or not.

There's lots that you can do to make the world more livable, with little or no expense. No, you don't have to build a solar panel array in on your roof, or live like a hermit. What we all need to do is true to reduce our use of resources wherever possible.
  • Buy a shopping bag instead of always taking home disposable paper or plastic bags. Many grocery stores in the U.S. now offer a small discount if you bring one of these, though some have given up the practice, because they've seen so little effect on demand for disposable bags. Mine have paid for themselves several times over already.

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs in overhead lighting. In parts of the country where air conditioning is used a good portion of the year, replace them everywhere you can. You save four fifths of the electricity used to create light, and in hotter parts of the country, you'll save money on air conditioning, as well.
    Caption: A typical compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb replacement for an incandescent light bulb socket.

    Image credit: Lamps Plus (see NOTE 1)

    In lights you use a lot, CFL's will pay for themselves in less than a year. Since they last several years, that means a net savings on your electricity bill.

    While CFL's don't work on dimmer circuits, there are many places in the house that they can be used.

  • While we're on the subject of light bulbs, turn off the lights you're not using. One of the big reasons oil prices are going through the roof right now is that much of the world is using more energy. Much electricity, particularly of the peak demand sort, is generated using oil. Saving energy means less greenhouse gas, and less dependence on foreign oil.

  • Caption: A reusable bag for bulk coffee. Use this until it won't close anymore, and you can lower energy, materials, and landfill use.
    Image credit: Photo by Cujo359 (See NOTE 2)

    If you buy food in bulk, as I buy coffee, try using the little bags until they don't work anymore. I usually get a half dozen or so uses out of a bulk coffee bag, which means that there are at least five of those bags that I don't throw out. That's energy and materials saved, and less landfill required to get rid of them.
Those are just a few things we ordinary folks can do to make the Earth more hospitable to us. If you've already done that, there are plenty more suggestions.

NOTE 1 This image came from the Lamps Plus site, because it was labeled as being reusable. I got a picture, and they got a link. Lamps Plus did not contribute to, endorse, or even know of this article's existence. Similarly, no endorsement of Lamps Plus is intended by the author of this article.

NOTE 2 Did you read NOTE 1? Most of that applies here, except that I took the picture of the Tully's bag. Tully's is the owner of the "Tully's" trade name, and if they object I'll just fuzz out their trademark and leave everyone to wonder what brand of coffee I like.


2 comments:

Suzan said...

I was a pest about plastic bag use and reusable bags, etc., etc., in the 60's.

I've heard that this brings on attacks from rightwingers. (Right after Carter installed the solar panels in the White House, remember what happened?) Rayguns!

Be careful!

Love ya,

S

P.S. Actually, any logical argument brings on rightwingnut attacks.

Cujo359 said...

One of the advantages of the things I suggested was that they generally will save the individual doing them money. That ought to appeal to even the coldest wingnut's heart.

But, as you say, there's always something to argue about if facts and logic are thrown out the window...