Going Green

It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, but I am pleased to say I am becoming more conscious of ways that I can be more environmentally friendly. My steps are small, but I am looking for that ripple effect as I encourage my friends and family to join me as I go along. Hopefully, small steps can lead to huge, positive results, as we influence each other to make changes for the better.

I have never given much thought to the amount of overpackaging that comes with the products I purchase. I have just picked up what I’ve wanted and been on my merry way. I haven’t thought too much about my water usage, either, unless I am in Bermuda and simply want to avoid the inconvenience of running out of water and the water truck paying us a visit! However, I’ve been learning a great deal about how the choices we make everyday are having a devastating impact on the environment. In fact, I used to think all this talk of going green and saving the earth was just for the bohemian, tree hugging types who live on nuts and berries. (Sorry, tree-huggers!)

But, it’s serious.

Very serious.

The effects of the high levels of pollution worldwide; the changing and severe global weather patterns we’ve been experiencing; the depletion of natural resources; and the continuous spread of viruses and disease are a serious wake up call for all of us. The other day I tweeted about it snowing in Las Vegas! I couldn’t believe it! Even here in the UK, the weather has been wreaking havoc as November felt like February! Talk about climate change! Still, far too many of us – especially in the western world – are oblivious to it all or just couldn’t be bothered and are continuing to contribute to the problem in major ways.

Many (most?) people I know in Bermuda, do not give much thought to the whole idea of protecting the environment or what it means to build a sustainable society. (Pssst! It’s all about living today in ways that do not damage the prospects of life in the future.) I have even heard some people say that they could care less about the effects of their lifestyle on the environment in the future because they won’t be around; so it doesn’t matter to them. Sadly, it’s actually not too hard to follow that line of thinking, even if not intending it to be as blunt as that. However, the other night I was thinking that perhaps one of the greatest acts of generosity – of selflessness – is to protect the resources and the planet, in general, for future generations, so that they can have the benefit of enjoying life in much the way that we have and to an even greater extent. Something about that seems rather profound when thinking of the depth of selflessness that it requires.

So, what am I doing?

Well, there are two changes I’ve made.

I have started taking my own carry bags to the supermarket. I was a bit resistant to it at first, but then I realised just how many plastic bags I had been accumulating! (I could have started my own business with them; or sold them back to Tesco!!!) There were times when I found myself forgetting the reusable bags when I went food shopping, but now I carry them in my bag, so I don’t forget them. I even keep a spare bag in my purse for those occasions when I pop to the store unexpectedly. I have to admit it has also made me more organised with my grocery shopping, as well. Somehow, I seem to be sticking to my planned shopping days and I have my list with me (on my Blackberry, so I don’t waste post-it notes, even!!!). Since I am only carrying a certain number of bags with me, then I am more economical with the amount of items I purchase. At this point it seems to have become a habit and I am well pleased with myself!

The other thing I have changed has to do with my water usage. I had the bad habit of running the water while brushing my teeth and also letting the water in the shower run for quite a bit, to warm up before I jumped in. It was pretty excessive, to be honest, but now I switch the water off when brushing my teeth and let the water in the shower run for a few seconds before jumping in. Now this is becoming a habit, too!

I have more to do, but this is definitely a good start. I am encouraging my family and friends to do the same. (AND to sort their garbage, by the way. Something many of us had not been doing or doing as consistently as we should.) For now, though, a fantastic start would be the use of the reusable bags at the grocery store!

Also, I came across the Bermuda Government’s Sustainable Development Unit’s website, which I thought was pretty good. They need to do more to raise awareness about reducing our carbon footprint on the island and it would be great if they started a campaign of some sort to educate the public and motivate them to make key changes. Perhaps, it is on it’s way.

For now, I am pleased I am doing my part and I will have to share what my next “green initiative” is and make it a regualr part of my blogging. It’s actually becoming fun.

Somehow, I think Kermit was wrong. It IS easy being green!

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~ by Carol-Ann Simmons on January 8, 2011.

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