A few weeks ago, my Mom and Aunt came over for a pasta dinner and we all got to talking about the state of the country. My mom outright asked what our generation is actually doing about it. Her question was focused on the entire governmental process and the state of our planet. It occurred to me that my mom already had her time to literally march on Washington, protest, fight back. Her generation was fighting to put an end to a senseless war. Where the history books are concerned, that defined them.
As I pondered her question it became clear that I first needed to consider what it was that defines our generation. Are we all bound together by one common purpose or desire? My answer was clear, yes! What will historically be the thing that defines our generation is our desire to provide a clean, healthy, sustainable environment for all future generations so they can live to discover their own definition. Now that I had nailed down the one true thing that characterizes our global generation I needed to determine what we were doing about making a difference -- how were we “marching on Washington”, literally or figuratively?
So what are we doing?
Joining. I posted an interview with Melissa two days ago. She shared this link with a friend who was interested to read about it and they started discussing the potential of getting together to share even more ideas of how they can become more environmental. Later, one of Melissa’s neighbors stopped by and they started talking about the same thing. She has now invited me and my Mom and there could be an expansion in this group to hopefully include her whole neighborhood as well. One person will not change the state of the entire planet, true, but she sure can help get a crowd together to discuss ideas, increase the size of that crowd, encourage that crowd to take part in efforts to reduce energy consumption or waste, bring that crowd out of their neighborhood and onto the streets of the state, encourage that crowd to tell ten friends, and so on, and so on. There are endless opportunities for change by simply starting a small neighborhood focus group.
Donating. There are a slew of groups out there already and they are spreading the environmental word but many of them are funded by donations from us and without those contributions they may not be able to continue fighting for the change our planet needs. These groups are widespread and diverse and there is one out there to fit the ideals of everyone interested in learning more.
Blogging. It may sound small but with the literal thousands of blogs circulating through cyberspace it is almost impossible to not come across one that is environmentally conscious. On my other blog I have links to twenty four blogs that I read consistently. Of the twenty four there are two which are strictly environmental. That leaves twenty two blogs and I can not think of a single one who has not mentioned the planet, eco-friendly lifestyle choices, the environment, their involvement in particular organizations, heck even recycling at some point. The people who write these blogs are online shop owners, moms, musicians, interior designers, accountants, chefs, law students, writers, photographers, graphic artists and range in age from early twenties on up. And that is just my personal blog roll. There are so many others who share this common thread and with such a diverse group concerned with our planet, and talking about it frequently, we have opened up an entirely new world of opportunity to share information and suggestions for ways to help.
Taking action into our own hands at home. I can not speak for the actions of the billions of people on this planet but I can be held accountable for the things that I personally do everyday. In addition to the three things above I also:
☼ Turn off the water while I brush my teeth.
☼ Consciously conserve toilet paper with my “three squares” rule.
☼ Recycle paper, plastic, metal in the conventional way (toss it in the bin for pick up).
☼ Upcycle, recycle or repurpose anything I can. For example, when my grandparents passed away they left behind an entire house full of stuff including clothes and bed sheets. I took that fabric, washed it and cut it up to make some adorable bags, giving new life to something old. What I could not use went to the Goodwill to further extend its life cycle.
☼ Limit my driving. As I work from home or complete jobs and errands locally, my gas consumption plummeted since moving this past spring. A tank will now last me upwards of a month.
☼ Turn things off and unplug what I can. Lights, computers, the toaster oven, anything!
☼ Open the curtains. The living room is an east facing window so I take advantage of passive solar to heat my apartment in the morning and afternoon.
☼ Eat less meat. I certainly have not gone completely vegetarian but at least two meals a week have moved in this direction and I plan to continue to increase that number.
The list here is a small example of what we can do individually and collectively to better our world. I strongly encourage everyone reading to locate and join local groups, donate to support the efforts of larger organizations, discuss the environment either through a blog or any other form of communication and finally look into all the ways to personally take action and then do it. Together, we can fight to protect our planet and go down in the history books as a generation committed to the greater good of the entire world.