The San Diego Zoo has embarked on a journey to calculate, mitigate, and reduce our carbon footprint for both the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park. Joining us in this adventure are celebrities who have volunteered to share their experiences as they tackle their own carbon footprint. They will be posting blog entries on this page, talking about their challenges, ideas, and victories. Read along with them, and see what you might try in your own household!
Melissa Joan Hart
Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
No, you’re not crazy, it is familiar. It’s the first line in the song from the TV show, CHEERS.
It feels familiar, too, because we seem to always be behind in our lives, whether it’s school or work, family or friends, house chores or hobbies. Where does all the time go? We’re a nation of over-workers, and we have exhaustion to show for it. So adding the responsibility of being eco-friendly to your To-Do list may seem overwhelming.
About nine months ago, my husband and I moved our boys to a small East Coast town. Small towns create a lot of gossip; these days it’s not just the moms at the playground that know the secrets of everyone in town, it’s your local barista. And just as Starbucks has become our generation’s version of a soda shop hangout, we have started to create a new kind of trash. As our landfills and oceans fill with plastics, grease-coated paper, and aluminum, we are just starting to see the impact on our Mother-ship. We are lucky enough to live in a town where plastic bags aren’t even an option, Newman’s Own has made organic “cool,” and Melissa & Doug have given kids great alternatives to toxic toys.
YES! We are in the dark…literally these days and figuratively. Sixty percent of our town on the East Coast had power knocked out last weekend during a completely unannounced and unexpected storm. The power company expects it will be close to a week before we get any power working on our block.
The weather is warming up and we are finally able to dig ourselves out of the snow. This is good on several levels. Obviously with warmer temperatures comes less power used to heat our home. The other big difference is that we are coming out of hibernation and being more active; whether it is going for walks or playing at the park, we are starting to spend a lot more time outside (when it’s not raining).
This is my first blog for the San Diego Zoo’s conservation program. I’m glad to be a part of it and hope that you find my experience in responsible living interesting.
I’ve been an active recycler for most of my life. I learned it from my grandpa, who had to survive through the Great Depression of the 1930s. But whomever you learn it from, I encourage you to find ways to reduce how much we all needlessly consume and then discard in our landfills.
Okay…enough lecturing. Let’s have some fun!
As a family, we have made several changes around the house to reduce our carbon footprint. Some of the easiest, and most obvious, are changing our regular light bulbs out for energy-saver bulbs, keeping our thermostat set a few degrees lower than normal, and turning off lights when we aren’t in the room. I know turning off lights sounds like the simplest thing in the world, but it makes a huge difference.
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.