Feb/10

22

A Generation of Convenience

What is a carbon footprint? And how big is your family’s? As we are becoming more aware as a society of the affect we have on our planet, the more we are trying to turn back the hands of time and do less damage in the future. After exploring the San Diego Zoo’s Web site, I found an area where you can enter some info and find out your carbon footprint. It’s pretty scary to see how big a mess one person can make on this Earth. Since I was a teenager, I have been trying my best to do as little damage as possible to Mother Earth, but when we are a generation of convenience and everything is disposable, it is very difficult to leave her unharmed.

My best efforts are the ones that we can do every day. Of course, everyone knows now that recycling is key; remember the old commercials, “If you are not recycling, you are throwing it all away?” And I am lucky to be living in the first town in the U.S. that has banned plastic bags. But there is a lot more that can be done. My advice this week is to go find a BPA-free water bottle (stainless steel, or BPA-free plastic by Nalgene) and carry it, filled with filtered tap water or from a 5-gallon water jug at home or work.

For all of you who can’t live without your morning lattes, when you visit your favorite beanery, bring your own cup along for the ride. I keep a clean one in my car for these trips and switch them out when I get home. I want to tell you a quick story of why I have been doing this particular tip for the past few years. On a work trip to the beautiful city of Vancouver in Canada back in the fall of 2007, there was a three-week garbage strike in the process when I arrived. After a few days of walking around the city, the trash began to overflow out of the street bins, and the main source of trash that I noticed on the ground all around the city was Starbucks cups.

Of course, that is only the tip of the melting iceberg, but if we all start there it would be an enormous start. It gets a little more difficult once you have children and attempt the cloth diapers, avoid using too many baby wipes or paper towels, or reusing Ziplocs. But I try every day to make these small differences so there will be a big difference in my kids’ future. I applaud all the families that celebrated a “green Valentine’s Day” for Challenge #3, and I hope we can all learn from each other how to protect and preserve what we have been blessed with.

Melissa Joan Hart

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2 Comments for A Generation of Convenience

imouse | March 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Anybody know how to factor our Solar PV system into our carbon footprint? Our local utility is no help, they just point us to the EPA, which also does not factor in such an active system.

sandiegozoo | March 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Moderator's note: Can you provide more information on the Solar PV system, such as model
number and manufacturer?

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