My first pledge ever was to reduce, reuse, or recycle as much as possible reduce the number of trash bags per week (I eventually got down to one kitchen trash bag). Last year, I joined a CSA (see my post about why it’s so good). Over the years, I brought an awareness to my use of bottled water, paper napkins, disposable plates and utensils and vowed to replace them with reusable options and only use when I have absolutely no other choice (traveling, etc.) and not because it’s convenient. I made major changes in my life, including moving and getting a new job, to reduce my commute and therefore my fuel consumption and emissions. You get the point.
The Earth is what supports human life. I will do whatever we can to protect her and I will preach it to anyone who will listen (and multiple times to those who won’t). I am called to inform those unaware of such tenets and it does work. It has resulted in increased recycling and less use of disposable items at work and other institutions where I spend my time. My family and friends have replaced paper napkins and plates with reusable options. Several have installed water filters in lieu of drinking bottled water.
But really, I hate bottled water. Bottled water is my ultimate pet peeve. It’s so ridiculous on so many levels. It makes me so mad just thinking about it. But when I was thinking about it the other day, I realized that I still drink soda and some juices, and those come in cans and bottles. Worse, they don’t come in the lighter weight plastics because of the carbonation, sugar, and other ingredients. For the past few years, I have managed to cut down my soda/soft drink consumption to one can a day, but that’s still a lot of cans. And I do love seltzer and would drink it more, but it only comes in large plastic bottles.
In line with the waste of water bottles, I’m going to try and eliminate the waste of soft drink containers. I have already started to switch to homemade teas and lemonades in order to eliminate those containers. It will also give me more control over the sweeteners and preservatives I put in my body.
Unfortunately, I love soda and still crave that sweet, cold bubbly goodness that only comes in containers, unless… you have a soda maker! So this year’s Earth Day pledge is basically buy a soda maker. I know tough life! The sacrifices I make, I tell you. But seriously, it’s an investment that is initially more expensive. It’s also an investing in the extra time and thought it takes to plan ahead, instead of popping into the 7-11 or hitting the vending machine every time I want a soda. And because plastic can leech and is less durable, for my health I will invest the extra money for the glass bottles. Because, you know why? Mother Earth and I are worth it!
I know I can never do any of these things 100%, it’s not the society we live in, but I do my best. The phrase “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” really is a set of instructions for how I live my life. And yes, I will do everything in my power to reduce the packaging on consumables. Yes, I will consider ways to reuse or repurpose something before I put it in the recycling bin or trash. Yes, I will recycle everything possible before I yield it to the trash can—even if it means taking few minutes to dismantle the items so the parts that can be recycled are. I will continue to do everything I can from my first Earth Day pledge to Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
And, yes, I will preach it and I will tell it to your face. I will inform you of your habits that could easily be replaced by something that is better for the environment. I will inform you of items that can be recycled. I have been known to dig through your trash (while cursing you out loud) if you throw something out that does not need to be, and as much as it grosses me out, I will be driven to do it again.
We only have one Earth. I don’t think finding another planet to inhabit is really feasible, since you know…we live on Earth and we are already here. We can make a difference.
How are you celebrating Earth Day? What are you doing to honor and assist Mother Earth?