Setting the Example:
Simple Actions to Lower Our Impact
Be Mindful: Please be mindful of your actions and the actions of your family when enjoying the outdoors. Also, be mindful of the cumulative effects of human activity. If every adult and child is allowed to harass, harvest, or destroy even a small area of wildlife habitat while visiting the outdoors, over time, the cumulative effects will take its toll. As indeed, it already has in many locations throughout the world.
Willful or careless destruction of wildlife and its habitat harms all of us. Therefore, please don't feed wild animals—it makes them associate humans with food—creating a dangerous situation for both people and wildlife. Leaving behind even the most seemingly harmless piece of trash kills in ways most people never imagine. For example, many of the hooks and wads of fishing line left behind in the mouth of small fish or on the ground by anglers become stuck in the throats or stomachs of wildlife (especially birds) and their babies (when fed to them by mistake)—causing painful death for most victims. Of course, there is a multitude of other ways human debris and other cumulative effects destroy wildlife and its habitat (most not even fully understood yet).
Nature is far more complex and vulnerable than it appears, so please treat God's creation with respect and leave nothing behind but footprints. Sadly, a certain percentage of people will always leave more than footprints and even the most conscientious visitor will accidentally leave debris behind or damage habitat. It's this cumulative effect that's the most dangerous threat to our planet and no amount of wishful thinking, religious dogma, political "spin" or "junk" science will change this fact—which is why it's so important for humanity to voluntarily reduce its numbers to safeguard our life-support system. To learn more about our cumulative effects, please visit 6 Billion Consumption Machines and Our Ecological Footprint.
Buy What You Truly Want: Please don't buy products you don't truly want—wasteful consumption and shopping destroys wildlife habitat and our life-support system. Furthermore, Co-op America provides an excellent resource to help us find environmentally friendly companies and products: Co-op America's Green Pages.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Use the money you save to buy fluorescent light bulbs and reduce your CO2 emissions. They are now available at almost any store and the Green Pages can also help us find them.
Today's fluorescent light bulbs are much brighter than the old versions and if one needs additional light for reading or detailed work, then use a bright portable light to supplement for those activities. If you find that you frequently need additional light, then try replacing half of the bulbs in a room or light fixture with fluorescent bulbs. You probably won't notice the difference, but it will make a big impact on your energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Be sure to dispose of fluorescent light bulbs properly, like most high-tech products, they contain harmful chemicals.
Organic Food: Use the extra money to buy organic food—it's much healthier and far less polluting to the environment.
Energize the House: Increase your comfort, save money (up to 33% off your current bill), and reduce C02 emissions by installing a programmable thermostat (please dispose of the old thermostat properly—many older thermostats contain mercury, which is extremely toxic to the environment). A programmable thermostat will allow you to use various combinations of blankets during the seasons to regulate your comfort and when you're out of the house it will reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling. When you get up in the morning or return home from work, the thermostat will have the house at the temperature you set. Other ideas for saving money and reducing CO2 include: closing off vents and doors to rooms in the house you don't need to keep warm or cool, sealing up leaks around windows and doors, installing energy reflective film on windows, and adding extra insulation.
Recycle & Stop Junk Mail: Buy recycled products (especially paper), recycle your trash, compost kitchen waste, and plant a garden (it will reduce the need to convert wildlife habitat into more farmland). Have junk mail stopped. Here are just two of the many organizations willing to help us: Recycling Advocates' Resource Page and for stopping junk mail Ecocycle's Resource Page.
Just Say No to Chemicals: Please don't use harmful chemicals on the lawn or garden—they kill beneficial wildlife and poison our streams, rivers, and drinking water. Please don't use harmful household chemicals either—they also poison the environment and there are many natural substitutes for lawn, garden, and household use. Here are just a few places to obtain environmentally friendly lawn and garden supplies: Gardens Alive and Extremely Green Gardening Company. And for household cleaning supplies try: Ecover and Earth Friendly Products.
Landscape for Wildlife: Landscape your property to increase wildlife habitat area—use native plants and trees (many non-native species are extremely harmful to wildlife). This will also reduce the amount of area one needs to mow or trim; thereby, reducing CO2 emissions even further. The National Wildlife Federation has an excellent program to help us with all the details in this area.
Save the Rain: Use rain barrels to reduce your water consumption and water treatment impact. A possible source to obtain rain barrels: Gardener's Supply Company.
Reduce Meat & Seafood or Go Hunting? Reduce your consumption of industry-produced meat and seafood by substituting your diet with more organic grains, vegetables, and fruit. Not only is it healthier—it has far less impact on the environment. Meat and seafood production takes far more energy, land, and other resources to produce the same amount of calories as other food groups and it creates much higher levels of pollution. Details on many of the amazing figures, comparisons, unsanitary conditions, antibiotics, growth hormones, and inhumane treatment of animals associated with the meat industry can be obtained from The Worldwatch Institute and Factory Farming. However, with the population growth of deer, feral pigs, and other overpopulated or invasive species, one could substitute industry-produced meat with this type of meat and help protect our biodiversity. It would also make the overpopulated species healthier, by avoiding starvation. Of course, animals must be harvested using humane hunting methods and skill. Ammunition selection is also very important, lead ammunition (which, if not recycled, ends up in the environment by way of discharge or landfill) is toxic to both humans and other biodiversity; please ask for lead-free ammunition from your suppliers and manufacturers. Thank you. For additional information on hunting and biodiversity, please read an article in Audubon Magazine titled, Wanted: More Hunters.
Here are some additional ideas for reducing our consumption of industry-produced meat and seafood. Eat a smaller portion of meat with your meal or skip it all together for most meals (buy organically grown meat—it's healthier and the animals are treated more humanely). When eating out, skip meat and seafood all together or order organically grown meat. One could also share a meat or seafood dish with your spouse or friend and order some other food group item to supplement. Furthermore, please don't overeat—it's extremely unhealthy and the waste harms our environment in many ways (the extra food production and subsequent medical treatments all have a detrimental impact on our life-support system). The recent trend of using pills and other technology to allow people to overeat without absorbing the food will only increase the level of environmental destruction and the moral implications of wasteful consumption on a finite planet.
Values-based Investing: Invest your money and retirement funds in values-based investments. The Social Investment Forum is a nonprofit organization and provides leadership in this area.
Cut the Yard Smog: Replace one's dirty gasoline trimmer with an electric version or trim manually and landscape to reduce the amount of trimming needed. Consumer Search provides a good start for learning more about electric trimmers. Replace one's dirty gasoline lawn mower with a "cordless" electric version or use a reel mower—thereby reducing C02 emissions and no more oil, gasoline, or spark plugs (gasoline lawn equipment are some of the most polluting machines on the planet). For additional information on cordless electric lawn mowers go to: Do it Yourself.
Cut the Recreational Smog: If you have a boat, jet ski, motorcycle, ATV, or snowmobile with a dirty two-cycle engine, replace it with a much cleaner four-cycle engine and please be mindful of the environment by staying on the approved waterways and trails. Honda and other manufacturers make four-cycle marine engines, but don't thank the manufacturers—thank your fellow citizens around the country who demanded these cleaner engines. To research Honda marine engines, visit their website: Honda Marine Engines. To lower your impact even more—try substituting some of your mechanized recreation with sailing, canoeing, kayaking, bicycling, and hiking. They are much healthier forms of recreation and you might find out that you enjoy them much more than the mechanized versions.
Cut the Road Smog: Replace one's automobile with a hybrid vehicle (although they still run on gasoline and emit C02—the Toyota Prius is one tenth of the pollution caused by comparably sized non-hybrid vehicles). The all-new Prius is now available—it's a mid-sized hatchback automobile, with rear fold-down seats, and gets 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 mpg on the highway. Driver and front passenger air bags are standard. In addition, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side and front and rear side curtain airbags are available as an option. Want to learn more about the new Prius, then visit The Prius Website. The Honda Civic Hybrid has a large trunk, four doors, seats five, and can obtain over 50 miles per gallon. However, the Prius has a larger interior, provides more total horsepower/torque and faster acceleration, better gas mileage, and is far less polluting. The Prius is rated as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV) and is more than 75% cleaner than the standard for an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV). The Honda Civic Hybrid is only rated as an ULEV, so please compare hybrid vehicles carefully. For households with two or more vehicles, the Prius should make an excellent choice for all but one of those vehicles. In many cases, households own at least one SUV, van, or truck for utility/recreational purposes. For their replacement, please consider the hybrid SUV by Ford: The Ford Hybrid SUV. (Also, improve your current gas mileage and lower your pollution by visiting: Save at the Pump and Help the Planet). But please don't thank Toyota, Honda, or Ford for hybrid vehicles—thank the citizens of California for demanding this type of vehicle from manufacturers.
Of course, some people need a larger vehicle because of work requirements and Greener Cars can help one pick the least polluting vehicle in the size needed. If one must use a diesel engine in their vehicle, consider burning waste vegetable oil or biodiesel: Greasel.com or Biodiesel.org. However, the vast majority of people using medium-to-mega-sized vehicles argue safety, convenience, and fashion to justify them. Well, is one's small increase in safety, convenience, and fashion worth destroying the world's life-support system and harming humanity's long-term spiritual and physical health on a monumental scale? Why not own a hybrid vehicle and on the rare occasions, when a larger vehicle is needed, rent it for a few days? It would help protect the environment and save a lot of money over the long run.
True leaders accept risk and set the example (it's called courage).
True leaders make sacrifices to help protect the long-term spiritual and physical health of humanity (it's called love, compassion, and service to a cause greater than one's self).
Home Building for the Long-term: When building a house, think of its impact on the environment and future generations. Make it a modest size, durable, efficient, and use renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly material. The Simple Living Network provides a wealth of information on home design and many other ways to lower our impact.
Trap the Cats? Cats Indoors! Campaign: Seeks to educate cat owners, decision makers and the general public that free-roaming cats pose a significant risk to birds and other wildlife, suffer themselves, and pose a threat to human health. For more information please visit: Cats Indoors! Campaign
Voting and Democratic Reform: Many citizens don’t vote because they object to both the Democratic and Republican candidates and feel it’s just a waste of time. For citizens that do vote, many of them feel they have no choice but to vote for the “the least of two evils". Unfortunately, using this logic, one always ends up with evil. Corrupt political parties and corporations thrive on this despair and inaction. However, democracy shouldn’t be about picking the least of two evils or not voting. The voting process should be about picking the leadership we truly want and the important message that choice sends to our fellow citizens, political parties, and all other would-be candidates.
Citizens can further enhance their contribution to the voting process and democracy by supporting Instant Runoff initiatives. Such democratic reforms will eliminate the "wasted-vote" and "spoiler" arguments as an issue, generate more choices for voters, increase voter participation, and ensure that a majority of the voters are heard. The Center for Voting and Democracy provides detailed information on Instant Runoff and other reform initiatives. The Vote Smart organization provides instructions on voter registration for each state.
Teach Others: Most important of all, set the example and be a teacher and inspiration for others (especially family, friends, and associates). However, make no mistake, conservation alone will not save our biodiversity and life-support system—we must also lower our population. So instead of creating additional children, please consider adopting the children that are already here and in one's own country (especially in the U.S. where population growth harms the world's poor and life-support system the most) or some other nurturing alternative. For example, one could devote their life or free time to educating children on the importance of protecting our life-support system. If one is set on having their own biological children, please limit yourself to one child and if additional children are wanted please consider adoption. The following links may help: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Adopt US Kids.
Please enjoy a courageous song by Jeanie Fitchen...
just click the play button below, close your eyes,
and marvel at her beautiful voice and words of wisdom.
Changes in the Wind/No More
Immigration is an important issue for every citizen to objectively consider (avoiding all the name calling and character assassinations that surrounds this issue) and formulate a position. As a starting point, The Audubon Society provides U.S. population and immigration information for one's consideration. Please express your opinion with your representatives in Congress. In addition, please ask your representatives to support a massive shift in resources toward educational and contraceptive services for women and men around the world. Such a program would increase the quality of life for everyone and reduce many of the reasons why so many people want to immigrate to the United States and other countries in the first place. It's your planet, and the younger you are, the more you have to lose. So get involved and help people, of all ages, to become part of the solution and not part of the problem! Our Website Introduction Card can help you accomplish this important goal.
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."
"There is no failure except in no longer trying."
"I know of no higher fortitude than stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds."
"Sick or well, blind or seeing, bound or free, we are here for a purpose and however we are situated, we please God better with useful deeds than many prayers or pious resignation."