With so much focus these days on the Gulf oil spill (we are still paying attention to this disaster, aren’t we?) many people are more closely taking a look at their use of petroleum based products, which is a good thing…
But where to start reducing?
Of course our use of gasoline is the most obvious place, and one in which we can have a huge impact together, but this is not so easy. Our society has been established in a way that for most of us we need cars, or at least public transportation to move through our days, and change is slow here. Electric cars are finally beginning to make their way into the mainstream and many people are riding bikes when they can…much of this requires infrastructure changes that hopefully are coming, but this will not happen overnight.
In the film No Impact Man, we see a drastic approach to reducing one’s footprint on the Earth from eliminating using all plastic, canceling magazine subscriptions, taking the stairs rather than an elevator, shopping local and even not using electricity, but for most of us this is much more than we are prepared to do.
So where to start realistically?
Sometimes plastics can play a role, but most of the time we reach for it out of habit. Much of the change that I believe we need to create is to become aware and then change those habits that are having a negative impact on the Earth, and have created huge profits for companies that maybe make products we don’t really need to be buying and using.
I agree with the Treehugger article that one of the areas that we need to stop using plastics is those articles that are used only once and then thrown away…and remember unless it is biodegradable it never really goes “away” and plastics don’t decompose, at least in our lifetime or even the next generations lifetime.
So as you go through your day just observe what you use or buy out of habit and see if there is an alternative, you may be surprised at what you are using that may have a better solution in the long run. An easy place to start is to always have your own shopping bags when you buy something and this extends beyond just the market to include everything from office supplies to clothing.
So remember BYOB…bring your own bag.