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Make every day Earth Day

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Monday was Earth Day, and around the world various activities were organized to show how much people love the only planet they have.

Unfortunately, many, if not most, people do something nice for Mother Earth only on this one day of the year. During the other 364 days they go about their wasteful and destructive ways, unmindful of how their actions threaten their own survival.

We do not have to do very difficult and complicated things to care for and protect our planet. Judy Molland, in an article published in the website Care 2 Make a Difference, lists some simple ways we can make every day Earth Day.

  • Use less water. Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth will save four gallons a minute. In the shower, turning off the water while you shampoo and condition your hair can save more than 50 gallons a week.

  • Attack the energy monster. Always turn off the lights when you leave a room and replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). They are more expensive, but will last much longer.  Use the minimum amount of outdoor security lights by setting them on a timer or motion sensor so they turn off during the day. (LED or light-emitting diode bulbs are even better, although more expensive. But their prices have dropped considerably, and good quality ones will probably last a lifetime.)

  • Commute without polluting. Take mass transit or at least carpool if you can. Best of all, ride a bike! There are huge physical and fiscal benefits to biking. The obesity rate for adults is at almost 36 percent in the United States, while countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, which promote biking as transportation, have the lowest incidence of obesity.

Top 10 recyclables

  • Know the Top 10. According to the (US) National Recycling Coalition, these are the top 10 most important items to recycle: aluminum, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, steel cans, HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic bottles, glass containers, magazines, mixed paper and computers.

  • Just say no to paper and plastic bags. The average consumer makes 1.9 trips to the grocery store every week. If you take home two bags each trip, that’s about 200 bags a year. Even if you recycle your bags, it’s better not to use them in the first place due to the energy used to produce those bags. Instead, carry your stuff home from the store in a reusable tote bag.

  • Put a cap on bottled water. Roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in American landfills each year, which is 140 million every day. And, according to the (US) National Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of bottled water is nothing more than tap water anyway. (This is also true here.) You’ve paid taxes for your tap water, so drink it! Head out to buy some refillable water bottles.

  • Buy locally produced food. When you do, you are helping reduce the pollution and depletion of resources associated with the transportation and packaging of food. On average, domestically grown produce sold in conventional supermarkets has traveled some 1,500 miles from farm to table. Not to mention, it’s probably been treated with fungicides so that it can be stored.

  • Weigh your waste. Weigh on a bathroom scale every bag of garbage you create before you take it out. Do this for a week and multiply by 52 to get a rough estimate of how much waste you produce in a year. Then figure out how you can cut your waste production.

  • Avoid the “Print” button. Think twice before printing from the computer. You can read most documents and magazines online, and you can pay many bills online these days. When you do print, use both sides of your paper as much as possible.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail lbolido@inquirer.com.ph.


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Tags: Consumer Issues , Earth Day , Environment



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