Thursday, June 30, 2011

Things we can do and places we can read about what to do....Optimism, focus, and effort

Several readers and students have asked that I post positive information about what we can do to take care of ourselves and our planet and make it safer for our kids.  Is this information on my blog too depressing?  I'm not sure how else to tell this story other than to say--yes--it is very depressing and the only way it will stop being this way is if each of us becomes pro-active in combating environmental degradation. Things are bad, and they probably will get much worse....unless we do something about it.  We all possess the power to change things around, but these changes will take effort and focus on all of our parts.   We don't have much of a choice.  We must participate in environmental activism, or the world will become uninhabitable for human beings and many other creatures. The time for laissez faire living is over.  We have to fix things or our heirs will be left to struggle for survival in a hot, toxic, undrinkable and inedible soup.

"What will you do with your one precious life?" Mary Oliver asks us. 

What can you do to make changes immediately in your own lives?

I'll make some suggestions.

1) Go to my list of news sites on the sidebar of this blog.  I've listed many on Nuclear, Toxics, Climate Change, and other issues.

2) Greenpeace has up-to-date information on current legislation and pertinent information about toxics, global warming, and other environmental problems. Environmental Working Group is fantastic, also.  Enviroblog (part of EWG) is great as well.  Hit these and you'll go to their sites.

3) My favorite local activists (New York) are Patti and Doug Wood.  They help towns and schools go green, and they are amazingly brilliant and generous with their time. If you live locally (as in New York City area), go listen to them talk!  Their website is:   Their website offers excellent information about product safety, toxins, food, and so on.  They are also on WBAI every other Tuesday evening at 8 p.m.   Their show is called Green Street.

4) Read Silent Spring--Rachel Carson, The End of Nature, Eaarth--Bill McKibben, Living Downstream, Having Faith, and Raising Elijah-- Sandra Steingraber,  The Long Emergency --Jay Howard Kunstler, Our Stolen Future--multiple authors.  More suggestions to come.

5) Film suggestions coming up, but definitely watch Gasland, Fast Food Nation, The Cove, Rachel's Daughters, Homeland, and Food Inc.  Standard oldie "popular culture" favorites: A Civil Action, Erin Brockavitch, Silkwood, and China Syndrome.

5) Andy Revkin at The New York Times has an enormous amount of information on Global Warming (primarily) and environmental issues. He keeps a blog called Dot Earth and all of his articles are superb. I recommend that you follow him!

6) Watch Annie Leonard's the Story of Stuff.  You'll never look at the stuff you buy in the same way again. Hit the title and you'll go directly there.  She's got a bunch of new "Stories" there as well...on bottled water, and more.  Watch them and pass them along to others!

7) Pick one environmental issue (if you feel overwhelmed with the many problems at hand) and do something about it. Volunteer, stay on top of it and sign petitions, spread the word, tell your friends and family what you know and what they can do.
Key issues to focus on: toxic chemicals, global warming, fracking, nuclear power/bombs, Tar Sands, Coal/Mountaintop Removal.

The most important things you can do? Get informed. Get involved.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  Buy less stuff!  Educate yourself about the current state of the environment. Stop eating processed foods. Eat less or no meat (meat production is a major contributor to climate change and pollution). Drive less. Drive smaller cars. Don't use pesticides and chemicals on your lawn and plants! Buy or grow organic. Eat your vegetables. Don't eat out of or cook with plastic. Don't buy water-get a filter and a reusable water bottle. Use less electricity and gas/oil.  Buy or make your own non-toxic cleaning products. Don't cook with non-stick pans.  Don't put chemicals on your body (go to Cosmetics Database and find safe body products--this goes for men, too).   Sign petitions to support environmental causes. Volunteer or work for environmental organizations! Tread lightly on the earth!

Send me your favorite suggestions and I'll post them!

More to come.... My exhaustive list of best environmental books to read.... Yes, I keep promising... it will come!

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