Friday, September 10, 2010

The End of Nature

I know I have been absent from blog posts for many months now. Time to break that streak to mention a recent book I finished up is 'The End of Nature' by Bill McKibbon. I have not read any of his work until now but plan to read more especially his new one titled 'Eaarth'. This was his first book and one of the first for a general audience on Climate Change, published in 1989. I saw it in my local book store and thought it would be interesting to read an environmentalist’s perspective from the early days of true global awareness of climate change and our human impact. He is correct in how he talks about the end of nature. We really have advanced very rapidly as a human race in such a short amount of time allowing us to create, consume and live as never before.

The wild untouched nature we dream of does not truly exist on our planet now. We go to places that are 'wilderness' yet the influence we have on the planet has us impacting everything from the weather to how and when plants grow. You may not agree that the climate change is anthropogenic caused. I don't believe it's 100% human caused as change will always happen to some extent with or without humans, but surely we are having a significant impact. How can we not have an impact with the size of our population and how many of us live our lives the way we do. The majority of us purchases products, take warm showers, heat our house, commute to work, buy food at the store, use a computer, heck I am typing this on my computer right now! With that list I have not even got into iPods, cell phones and the like which many of us would not give up and use everyday. These are things we cannot necessarily do away with or change greatly overnight, they have become the way of life for most of us. So the question becomes how can we lessen the impact and still get to enjoy life. I believe as a human race that we will overcome these concerns to make our planet livable in a positive way for future generations.

When this book was written I was barely a teenager and surely did not have a care for the environment that I do now. The way I acted when I was much younger does appall me looking back at it... throwing out plastic bottles and aluminum cans, cigarette butts out the window, leaving lights on all over the house and the list can go on. And there are many things I enjoy today that I am not willing to give up but I am thankfully not acting anything like I did when I was younger without a care for the world, literally. Now with that said I am not out to make this a doom and gloom blog post. I do agree we have serious issues facing our planet. And as someone that loves nature and the outdoors it does concern me. I know I can always do more even when I am making strides to make this a better planet. I like to believe the glass is half full. Here is a quick list of 10 things I have done in the last 10 days that I feel are pro-environment and green. I encourage you to do the same. This helps to see what we are doing right and much different than the way many of us lived only decades ago. If you cannot come up with at least 10 then start thinking of what small changes you can make that will be positive for Mother Nature.

10 things I did in the last 10 days that are environmentally friendly.

1. Biked to my favorite local coffee shop to get fresh bags of coffee.

2. Using reusable cloth diapers for our baby.

3. Taking my travel coffee mug with me on the road/plane to drink my cup of joe.

4. Walking to the store (with reusable bags) to pick up the short list of needed items.

5. Bringing my Klean Kanteen water bottle with me in the car, to the gym and elsewhere.

6. Put left over vegetable, fruit and other scraps in our compost bin.

7. Avoided watering our lawn, we typically let it go brown in summer for sake of water reduction.

8. Did not turn on the A/C in our house despite getting in the mid 80's multiple days. We try to avoid it unless it's near 90 or warmer.

9. Turn off computer monitors when I ever I walk away from my PC.

10. Eat various produce that was locally grown.

I could have listed recycling the newspaper, yogurt cups, milk cartons, etc but that should be 'standard' part of the consumption cycle now for most of us, at least from my standpoint. I was trying to list things outside of that realm.

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