Getting Involved Locally to Overcome Climate Change

Chances are that you’ve seen news on TV or your newspaper or the Web about polar icecaps melting, or rising sea levels, or changing weather patterns. It’s easy to be an observer on the sidelines, and let the news happen on its own.

We can take steps on our own to live more energy efficient lifestyles, like purchasing hybrid cars, or using public transportation more frequently, or buying energy saving household appliances, and conserving energy more wisely where we work and where we live.

The problem of climate change can seem overwhelming though. Most of us aren’t in positions where we can influence public policy, or the actions of large corporations, or come up with scientific breakthroughs that bring clean energy to the world. But we can act locally, and we can help spread awareness, and become informed on the issues involved, and share that knowledge with others.

How much do you know about what is going on in your own community to combat climate change?

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Green New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve been working upon and considering some of the things that I might do to lessen my environmental impact upon the Earth and others, and thought that it might be worth sharing those here.

I’ve written them in the form of New Year’s resolutions that people could follow, but we don’t have to wait until the new year to start doing what we can to benefit the environment.

There are many steps that we can take to help us live in a greener, and more environmentally friendly world which can also help us save money and energy, be healthier, benefit local economies, and help others in our communities. Starting to be informed on environmental issues is a good beginning. Taking actions like the ones that I’ve listed can have a big impact if many people get involved.

1. Stop using plastic bags from where you shop. I’ve been carrying environmentally friendly reusable shopping bags in my car, and I need to start remembering to carry them with me into the grocery stores.

2. Cut back on your car usage – walk or bike more, consolidate trips and errands so that you can drive less, and investigate telecommuting and public transportation opportunities – even carpooling or taking public transportation one day a week can make a difference.

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Building a Landscape, Dreaming Big Dreams

Thinking about the architecture of web sites, and how carefully they can be constructed brought to mind a brush I once had with a landscape architect, and unknown to me at the time, a founder of Earth Day.

I was in my third year of law school, working with some other students to put together an Environmental Law Society. I helped write a set of bylaws for the organization, and co-edited a newsletter that we wrote together. We earned money with a few bake sales, talked a number of speakers into coming to the school, and took a canoe trip down part of the Christina River.

Our presentors included people from businesses and environmental organizations. They were interesting, and I think we all learned a little about how difficult it can be to try to impose change upon the world as part of an advocacy group, or from within a corporation.

One of our members recommended a neighbor of his from rural Chester County as a speaker. The neighbor was a landscape architect. I’m not sure that any of us were aware at the time that this neighbor was one of the most influential landscape architects of the 20th century. Or one of the most gifted speakers to grace a university’s lecture halls. We found that out, when Ian McHarg’s thick Scottish accent began to fill our presentation hall.

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Celebrating Earth Day 2008

What will America be like when the population doubles from about 280 million to over 520 million within the next 75 to 80 years or sooner? If we permit that to happen, it will have a dramatic and pervasive impact on almost all aspects of our living condition.

It will mean, for example, that we will have to double the total infrastructure of the United States within the next seven or eight decades that means we will be dealing with twice as many cars, traffic jams, parking lots, paved roads, planes and air fields, schools, colleges, prisons, apartment houses; a tremendous loss of agricultural land, open spaces, wildlife habitat, areas of scenic beauty; loss of all kinds of freedoms freedom to move about with ease, to find places free of noise, crowding and people pressure of all kinds.

The Environmental Future Gaylord Nelson, former senator from Wisconsin and the founder of Earth Day, September 20, 2001.

This week, I wanted to take a look at the origins of Earth Day, and see what kinds of events might be happening around me, and around the world. I’ve also linked to a number of green blog posts and resources that I found interesting over the past few days.

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Building Green is Building Naturally

No sane man in the hands of Nature can doubt the doubleness of his life. Soul and body receive separate nourishment and separate exercise, and speedily reach a stage of development wherein each is easily known apart from the other.

Living artificially we seldom see much of our real selves, our torpid souls are hopelessly entangled with our torpid bodies, and not only in there a confused mingling of our own souls with our own bodies, but we hardly possess a separate existence from our neighbors.

John Muir, John of the Mountains, p. 77

This week’s green post looks at a way of building that has become a life style for the people who practice it, and points out some green news and blog posts that I thought were worth sharing.

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