August 5, 2008

Support your local planet

Many times I have attended some gathering or other, and after the speeches are done and the final questions debated, refreshments are brought out and served on plastic plates and in plastic cups.

I cannot tell you what a horrible feeling I have.

I am especially aghast if the event is one that discusses environmental issues.

Around me every day I see an interesting phenomenon. Even people who understand that plastic lasts forever accept their purchases in plastic bags. People who realize that the climate crisis means more hurricanes are caught idling their vehicles.

People who want to save our national forests still buy paper that is not recycled.

There is often a great gulf between what we know to be true and what we practice. This phenomenon worries me as much as the environmental problems themselves.

A friend and I stop at a roadside stand to buy blueberries. The cashier offers a plastic bag and my friend accepts it. The minute we get to the car, she removes the blueberries from the bag and we start to eat them. I am brought face to face with a plastic bag whose lifespan is less than five minutes but that will last for thousands of years in a landfill.

I am not a perfect environmentalist. We cut trees to heat our home. We drive vehicles that use fossil fuels. Our home is run by electricity which is, in part, produced by nuclear energy.

But every day I try to make decision based on what I know: that the earth needs us to be thinking about it.

When I am invited somewhere to speak, I ask the organizer to produce an environment-friendly event:

1. Use paper instead of plastic. If possible, real flatware and dinnerware.

2. No Styrofoam

3. Recycled paper in filers and press releases

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