Earth Day: Reduce Reuse Recycle
We celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, but really we should be celebrating the earth everyday. My five year old son who is in Senior Kindergarten announced to the family at dinner this evening that he will be cleaning up his schoolyard tomorrow because it will be earth day. He goes on to explain that we have to recycle garbage so that we can keep the air clean. I looked at him across the table and I was dumbfounded that a five year old child had more awareness about preserving our earth than most adults. That got me thinking of a simple time when recycling was a way of life.
I grew up in a third world country where we did not have garbage pick up. We had to get rid of our own garbage, by burning, reusing or giving away things. We were always conscious of throwing away things. We would reuse household items in many ways, for instance we would use empty paint containers for flower pots or use as a bucket to collect water for household use. We gave outgrown clothes, toys and other household items to needy families rather than throwing them away. Empty glass bottles were returned for cash. Peelings from fruits and vegetables as well as scraps of meat left over from the family meals were not thrown away, but prepared and used as feeding for animals. The leaves and debris that was raked from the yard was used as mulch for flowers and vegetable gardens. Nothing was wasted.
North America is a continent of abundance and some of us have become so spoilt that we don't care to reduce the amount of garbage that we send to the landfills. It still surprises me when I drive along my street on Tuesday nights, prior to garbage pick up the next day, to see the amount of garbage that is placed on the curb by each household. Each home usually throws out at least five garbage containers; usually 2 recycle bins, 1 compost bin, 1 bag of yard waste and 1 garbage container. I also see couches, mattress, refrigerators, computers, toys put out on the curb for pick up. After a holiday like Christmas, the garbage is usually double.
We are definitley a throw away society. Do we ever think about where these garbage go and how much it costs our local municipalities to dump? Some municipalities have to pay to transport their garbage to another country. We are running out of places to dump our garbage. Do we consider the imapct on the environment, such as our underground water basins and the toxins that seep into the water from waste?
So as we think about earth day, each person can do their part to preserve our earth. We can start by reducing the amount of garbage we throw out. We can donate old clothes, toys, furniture, books, electronic appliances rather than throwing them away. There are companies that will collect these items from you. Look them up on-line. We can also turn off un-necessary lights, unplug electronic equipment when not in use, get a programmable thermostat for your home, seal your doors and windows during winter to prevent heat loss. Finally we should educate our family on the benefits of taking care of the environment. Children can learn from an early age to respect the environment. Reduce your carbon footprint and preserve the earth.