Friday, 23 April 2010 15:16

How to save the Earth

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All day long on Earth Day, I've heard offhanded comments that reeked with cynicism about "saving the Earth." I even heard these comments from people who claim an affinity with Mother Nature, which made me even more sad.

Cynicism isn't necessary here, even though it might seem that "saving the earth" is an uphill battle against massive megacorporations, corrupt politicians and skewed scientific research. What's necessary is a rethinking of our consumerism, because while we cannot control the actions of any of the above or anyone else, we can control our own actions.

Reduce, reuse, recycle... I'd like to add one more to that list. Repair. It clearly belongs there. I don't know how many things I repair, nearly daily. I fix up old computers and make them usable again - one less computer leaking mercury into a landfill, and one more computer that could be useful to someone, somewhere... if I don't have a use for it, I usually hand it over to a charity. I fix up an old run down house to make it beautiful again - that's one less lot full of trees that has to be bulldozed, one less ecosystem that has to be disrupted, one less pile of old bricks and wood that is going to waste unused. Greg fixed our popcorn popper the other day. One of the connections came loose, and a little solder and electrical tape and it was as good as new. One less piece of trash generated, one less demand for yet another plastic good that has to be shipped on a huge gas-guzzling barge from across the ocean, then transported on a huge gas-guzzling truck across the nation to my local department store.

Reduce. Do you really need that? I have been doing a lot of spring cleaning and I have been saying to myself repeatedly over this work, "We have a LOT of junk." The next time I think I need to go to the store to buy something, I'm going to see, first, if I don't have something already suitable right here at home.

Reuse. I recycle like a fiend - and not by just throwing things into a bin which I put out on the curb once a week. Those old wooden cabinet doors that I found in my shed are being refinished, and I'm going to be applying collages to them to create art. That old metal paint can became our metalworking foundry. The waste water in my fish tanks feed my aquaponics garden. Before I throw it away, I always ask myself, "Can I turn it into something that is more useful - something that might help me reduce my consumption?"

And, of course, recycle. That one's easy. And if you don't want your aluminum cans, I'll take all that you have off your hands. I'm turning them into pure aluminum which I'll be casting into useful things.