Never Litter Under Any Circumstance
• In the state of Georgia alone, the D.O.T. spends $20 million annually on roadside trash. That's money that could have gone to solar panels or planting trees and flowers.
• The several trillion toxic cigarette butts littered worldwide annually are responsible for fatal fires and the deaths of numerous mammals, birds and reptiles who eat them.
Information courtesy of: www.StopLittering.com
Recycle Paper, Plastics, Aluminum and Glass
Recycling is one of the easiest ways for people to take action on behalf of the environment, a way to Make Every Day Earth Day™. Recycling reduces the amount of waste in landfills, and prevents hazardous materials from leaking into our soil and water systems. Consider the following:
The average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day
The EPA estimates that 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, while only about 30 percent is recycled.
An aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf to be purchased again in as little as 60 days; a glass bottle takes as little as 30 days.
One gallon of improperly disposed motor oil can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water.
Use Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides and Fertilizers
Lawn pesticides and fertilizers can contaminate surface and groundwater. This diminishes the quality of our drinking water as well as the quality of aquatic habitats and health of aquatic life forms. Many fish and aquatic insect species are highly sensitive to fertilizers and pesticides.
Children are the most vulnerable segment of our population due to their small size and their underdeveloped physiology. Children are also often the most exposed to pesticides due to their behavior (putting contaminated grass, soil and toys into mouth, breathing close to the ground). Increased exposure puts children at an unacceptably high risk from lawn pesticides.
Use Earth Friendly Cleaning Products
Most conventional dish and laundry detergents are made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. Some detergents contain alkyphenol ethoxylates, which are suspected hormone disruptors that don't readily biodegrade and can threaten wildlife after they go down your drain. Ethoxylated alcohols in liquid detergents can contain carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane.
Aerosol propellants contain flammable and nerve-damaging ingredients as well as tiny particles that can lodge in your lungs. Fragrances of all kinds can provoke allergic and asthmatic reactions. Instead if the air outside is clean, open your windows and ventilate the natural way. An open box of baking soda removes odors. (If you're feeling Martha Stewart-ish, you can decant it from the box into a pretty bowl.) Cedar blocks or sachets of dried flowers and herbs provide gentle scents -- but avoid any potpourri that lists unspecified "fragrance" on the label; this could mean synthetic chemicals, including phthalates. Look for products scented with essential plant oils, such as lemon, verbena, or lavender.
Buy and Grow Organic Produce
Keep Chemicals off Your Plate
Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were registered long before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established. Now the EPA considers that 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides are carcinogenic. A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimates that pesticides might cause an extra 1.4 million cancer cases among Americans over their lifetimes. The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and can also be harmful to humans. In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated in birth defects, nerve damage, and genetic mutation.
Help Small Farmers
Although more and more large scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small, independently owned and operated family farms of less than 100 acres. It's estimated that the United States has lost more than 650,000 family farms in the past decade. And with the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicting that half of this country's farm production will come from 1 percent of farms by the year 2000, organic farming could be one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.
Buy Organic Meat and Poultry
Free of Antibiotics, added Hormones, GMO Feed and other Drugs; no GMO Animals
Animals raised organically are not allowed to be fed antibiotics, the bovine human growth hormone (rbGH), or other artificial drugs. Animals are also not allowed to eat genetically modified foods. Further, animal products certified as organic can not have their genes modified (for example, a scorpion gene cannot be spliced into a cow gene).
How: The animals are raised in a healthier environment, fed organic feed, and often eat a wider range of nutrients than those raised in factory farms (such as would be the case of free-range chickens and ranch cattle). The animals are not from a test tube.
Information courtesy of: www.Care2.com/greenliving/why-buy-organic-dairy-meat.html
Buy Canvas Grocery Bags or Recycle the Ones You Already Have
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food. Turtles think the bags are jellyfish, their primary food source. Once swallowed, plastic bags choke animals or block their intestines, leading to an agonizing death. On land, many cows, goats and other animals suffer a similar fate to marine life when they accidentally ingest plastic bags while foraging for food.
In a landfill, plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to degrade. As litter, they breakdown into tiny bits, contaminating our soil and water. When plastic bags breakdown, small plastic particles can pose threats to marine life and contaminate the food web. A 2001 paper by Japanese researchers reported that plastic debris acts like a sponge for toxic chemicals, soaking up a million fold greater concentration of such deadly compounds as PCBs and DDE (a breakdown product of the notorious insecticide DDT), than the surrounding seawater. These turn into toxic gut bombs for marine animals which frequently mistake these bits for food.
Information courtesy of: www.reusablebags.com/facts.php?id=2
Encourage the Development of Clean Alternative Fuels
Unlike other renewable energy sources, biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuels, called "biofuels," to help meet transportation fuel needs. The two most common types of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel.
Ethanol is an alcohol, the same as in beer and wine (although ethanol used as a fuel is modified to make it undrinkable). It is made by fermenting any biomass high in carbohydrates through a process similar to beer brewing. Today, ethanol is made from starches and sugars, but NREL scientists are developing technology to allow it to be made from cellulose and hemicellulose, the fibrous material that makes up the bulk of most plant matter. Ethanol is mostly used as blending agent with gasoline to increase octane and cut down carbon monoxide and other smog-causing emissions.
Biodiesel is made by combining alcohol (usually methanol) with vegetable oil, animal fat, or recycled cooking grease. It can be used as an additive (typically 20%) to reduce vehicle emissions or in its pure form as a renewable alternative fuel for diesel engines.
Information courtesy of: www.nrel.gov/learning/re_biofuels.html
Turn off the TV or Video Game and go to the Mountains
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul. Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.~ John Muir
A few Helpful Kid Links
A Helpful link to a Kid's Source for Recycling sent to the Highlander by Mary Lowe
The United States uses a lot of energy - nearly a million dollars worth each minute, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. With less than five percent of the world's population, we consume about one fourth of the world's energy resources. We are not alone. People in Asia and Europe also use a large amount of energy.
You can save energy and money by installing insulation, maintaining and upgrading the equipment, and practicing energy-efficient behaviors. A two-degree adjustment to your thermostat setting (lower in winter, higher in summer) can lower heating bills by four percent and prevent 500 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. Programmable thermostats can automatically control temperature for time of day and season.