My coworker’s 5 year-old daughter wrote a letter to the President, asking him to stop the oil spill.
I couldn’t agree more.
But I also know that this is a disaster we brought upon ourselves, and upon the entire world because it cannot be contained.
Our consumption of oil and oil-based products is to blame. We did this. Every one of us is guilty. Because unless you are living 100% off the grid in a grass shack and grow all your own food and weave your own clothes and sew them with a bone needle and sinew thread (and aren’t reading this, because computers are mainly plastic) then you have to take some responsibility for the recent BP oil spill. Our lives are so totally and completely entrenched in petroleum products that it is impossible to remove ourselves from them and still live in anything other than a cave.
And if this oil spill makes you sick to your stomach like it does to me, then this is a good time to start making changes in your consumer habits. Here are a few ideas, in case you are drawing a blank:
Foot-power: walk or ride your bike. Everyone needs more exercise anyway.
Glass-power: say ‘no’ to plastic water bottles, cups, plates, and utensils, and styrofoam containers. Bring your own glass or stainless steel dishes and containers.
Green-power: turn off the lights, turn down your heater / air conditioner, lower the temp on your hot water tank, take shorter showers, turn off the water when you aren’t actually using it (like while brushing your teeth).
DIY-power: learn to make stuff like simple cleaning products, repair instead of replace – or do without.
No-power: cut back on purchases. Really, we buy so much crap and then toss or donate it barely used. Just stop buying stuff. At the very least, stop buying new — if you need something, check out garage sales and thrift stores, or see if you can borrow the item from a friend (especially good if you don’t need the item for long).
Cash-power: stop using credit cards – they lead to impulse purchases and over-spending. Counting out cash is a great way to curb runaway consumerism.
Dirt-power: grow some of your own food. It’s easier than you might think and even apartment-dwellers can grow something in a pot or container, or in a shared plot of ground. Cherry tomatoes on the deck, basil on a window sill, an apple tree in the parking strip, radishes along the edge of a flower bed. Find out if your neighborhood has a pea patch – and if not, see if you can start one. Many neighborhood have empty lots or abandoned properties that could be put to use producing food instead of gathering litter.
Local-power: learn how to eat locally by shopping at farmer’s markets and reading up on what grows in your area, and when it grows (eating in season so your food isn’t transported hundreds or thousands of miles).
Volunteer-power: One of the best ways to reduce your impact is to offset it by doing good things for the environment and your neighborhood – spend some time planting trees, cleaning up a park, rebuilding hiking trails, releasing fish into streams, helping out on a farm, teaching others a skill that you have (like baking bread or canning pears).