Mindy's Musings: Save the Earth, Skip the Coffee Stirrer (Part 1)

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One Earth to live on, one Earth to share, and one Earth to care for.

Unless you are living under a giant rock, you must have already heard about global warming. After years of setting the problem aside, it is now recognized as a legitimate concern worldwide. The scientific community has been sensing the gradual and accelerating shift in the earth's climate since the latter half of the last century, but probably – and we are all guilty of this – we were more concerned with economics and we chose to ignore the melting glaciers and the increasing temperatures. Now that the world is experiencing extra-strong hurricanes and erratically moving typhoons, we know we have to do something.

Governments have started drafting and executing legislation to prevent the accelerated climate change, and as good citizens we must of course follow. However there are certain habits of ours, little things that we do everyday, that when changed or removed can help prevent global warming and therefore save the environment. I have stumbled upon this list posted online entitled “50 Ways to Help the Planet” (www.50waystohelp.com). This guide, created by t-shirt company Wire & Twine, enumerates seemingly simple and trivial practices that when done everyday can save huge amounts energy and resources in the long run.

From the list I selected the tips that Filipinos will be able to apply to our everyday lives. They are:

  • Go vegetarian once a week. Filipinos love our meat so much, but we never consider how much goes in the preparation of our beloved karne. For instance, 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of beef. That's just too much water for kaldereta! So let us devote at least one day of the week to eating chopsuey or talbos. Not only are we helping the environment, we are also helping our diet.
  • Use one less paper napkin. We tend to ask for too much tissue whenever we eat out, and for what? So we can wipe the plates three times? Remember, paper napkins, even though they are thin, are still paper. It never hurts to limit our consumption.
  • Use both sides of paper. This goes to the offices and schools. Too much paper is used in reports, memos, and letters, that we never realize that we throw out million tons of paper yearly! We can halve this consumption by using both sides of blank papers, or maybe reusing printed ones as scratch paper for little notes and math problems. Then afterwards, we can go further by taking the used paper to the recyclers.
  • Wrap creatively. The chill is in the air: Christmas is around the corner! For sure you'll be receiving loads of gifts come holiday time, and as an intelligent, responsible earthling, do not just tear open your presents. Unwrap them carefully and store the wrapper for future use. You will not just keep forests standing, you will also save cash. Also, why not use maps, magazine pages, or even old cloth as gift wrappers? Exercise your creativity!
  • Rethink bottled water. Ninety percent of plastic water bottles are not recycled, so imagine the clutter when it accumulates in dump sites! Not to mention it takes a really long time for polyethylene to decompose. Do the environment a favor and reuse your plastic bottles as much as you can. You can refill them again with water, or maybe use them for your arts and crafts classes.
  • Brush without running. As we know running water is a precious, precious commodity, so why do you let it run while your concentrating on making your teeth shine? Every day that you do this you let five gallons of clean water go directly to the sewers. Sad! So next time, make sure you turn the tap off after you've moistened your toothbrush. Or better yet, use a cup.
  • Buy local. Aside from helping improve the economy, buying local products helps the Earth by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases created when merchandise are flown or trucked in. I bet you never realized until now that pollution is created by the innocent act of getting eggs from the supermarket. So now that you know, if possible, get your goods from the local farm. After all, they're the freshest finds.

(To be continued next week.)

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Want to read more of Mindy's Musings? Then visit www.wikipilipinas.org! You can also drop her a line at mindy@wikipilipinas.org.


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