Bottled water is bad for the environment, expensive, and despite what many people believe, it’s not superior to tap water.
The bottled water industry uses vast amounts of carbon dioxide–generating fossil fuels to bottle and transport its bottled cargo. Further, it takes 1.5 million barrels of crude oil to provide the plastic for just one year’s worth of water bottles. It takes the equivalent of 37,800 18-wheel trucks to distribute a year’s supply of the stuff. Every step of this distribution process means the release of greenhouse gases.
We’ve all heard the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but too often recycling has overshadowed the first critical step of waste prevention.
Here are a few things you can do to promote a greater awareness of the importance of the “reduce” step.
- Buy in Bulk: Avoid purchases that are packaged for single use (i.e. drinks, school lunches, candy, cat and dog food, salad mixings, etc.) Instead, buy in bulk and transfer the products to your own reusable containers.
- Avoid Creating Trash: When ordering food, avoid receiving any unnecessary plastic utensils, straws, etc. Don’t accept “free” promotional products, buy products with the least amount of packaging. Every little bit of trash avoided does make a difference!
Lawn care in the U.S. has come at a high cost to the environment. According to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation:
- 30% of water used on the East Coast goes to watering lawns; 60% on the West Coast.
- 18% of municipal solid waste is composed of yard waste.
- The average suburban lawn receives 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland.
- Per hour of operation, a gas lawn mower emits 10–12 time as much hydrocarbon as a typical auto. A weed eater emits 21 times more, and a leaf blower 34 times more.
Annual plants are pretty but use loads of petroleum and petrol products in the heating of greenhouses and production of plastic pots.
I often wonder how much plastic is generated by us as well-meaning Mother’s Day celebrants, so on the 2nd Sunday of this month, when thinking of honoring your mother, please consider this list of hardy, sustainable perennial plants, ready to yield much joy and a gentler touch on our Mother Earth.
- Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia Goldsturm)
- They look glorious amassed with a tall grass backdrop and bloom from mid-July into October.
- Sedum “Autumn Joy
Eco tourism often brings to mind images of exotic tropical locations, but the reality is that destinations, accommodations and tour packages exist on every continent, for a variety of budgets and levels of comfort.
Sustainable travel does not have to mean backpacking through the jungle in South America. Every traveler can take steps to make his or her vacation more environmentally friendly.
Here are a few tips on environmentally responsible travel.
- When planning your trip, search for destinations, tours and/or accommodations that are environmentally responsible. Consult websites, guidebooks, and ask questions before booking. Consider purchasing Carbon Credits to offset your travels.
Here are some things we can do to make a difference.
UNESCO has predicted that by 2020 water shortages will be a serious worldwide problem. One third of the world’s population is already facing problems due to both water shortages and poor drinking water quality. Effects include massive outbreaks of disease, malnourishment and crop failure. The average American uses just under 100 gallons of water per day compared with the average African that uses just under one gallon per day.
Here are some things you can do at home to conserve water:
Did you know that more than 100 million trees worth of bulk mail is delivered to US mailboxes every year? In energy terms, the production and subsequent disposal of junk mail consumes more energy than 2.8 million vehicles annually.
Many of us do not want the majority of the solicitations and catalogs that come to our homes each day. If you are one of those people, go to www.DMAchoice.org and www.optoutprescreen.com to register online and stop this wasteful use of our natural resources.
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