It is now day 65 of the Gulf oil spill and you can’t help but feel deep despair. We are all asking the same questions.....When will it end? How can we clean up this huge mess? How can I help? What can I do??
I started this blog less then two weeks ago because I wanted to do something. I was sitting home watching AC360 as the disaster continued to unfold in the Gulf, my heart breaking as I watch the innocent animals come to shore covered in oil. What can I do??
My family started down the road to becoming green 4 years ago for several reasons. I have always been an animal rights activist, environmentalist and I wanted to take it a step further. I also wanted to be healthier. I have allergies that seem to be worsening each year and our parrot Morgan also suffers from allergies. His nares (nose) would swell up and he’d have sneezing fits after I did a load of laundry or cleaned the house. I did a lot of reading, research and came to the conclusion that I needed to make changes to rid our house of toxic chemicals. We started off by switching all of our cleaning & beauty products. Finding eco-friendly cleaning products at first was a chore because the only store I could find in my area that sold them was Whole Foods in Madison. As the green message has spread over the years more stores are caring eco-friendly products which makes it easier for consumers
to make ‘green’ choices. The only hurdle keeping people from making the eco-friendly decision is cost. On average a bottle of green laundry detergent is $2-5.00 more expensive then Tide, Era or Arm & Hammer. Why is that you wonder? Traditional laundry detergents contain petroleum-based chemicals. The oil industry is heavily subsidized which means products which contain oil like Tide Laundry Detergent can be sold cheaply. You must be wondering once again what can I do??
There are a few groups on Facebook calling for the boycott of BP gas stations but boycotting these businesses won’t change our oil addiction. You aren’t hurting BP you are hurting a small business owner who’s under contract. What can I do??
First you need to be honest with yourself and admit that we are all responsible for the BP oil spill. Our insatiable desire for oil is the reason why millions of gallons of oil has been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico for the past 65 days. Each time we decide to drive 5 blocks instead of walking or biking means BP gets richer and our Mother the Earth is getting sicker. We need to give up conveniences for a chance to stop the rapid climate change. We need to stop the relentless march of the 6th mass extinction which is occurring while you read this blog. We need to prevent future oil spills and leave a planet that is habitable for our children, grandchildren and future generations.
What can I do?
Make your own cleaning/beauty products--If you can’t afford to buy green products you can make your own beauty and cleaning products. They are super cheap and a great way to cut your oil consumption.
Drive less---We Americans burn 20 million barrels of oil a day. When you can use public transit, carpool, walk, bike or telecommute.
Meatless Monday---Raising one cow on a factory farm uses 35 gallons of oil. Cutting down your meat consumption just one day a week is equivalent to driving 1,000 miles less a year. Buy local, grass-fed & organic meat.
Eat Local---The average dinner travels 1,500 miles to get to your table. Chose to eat locally, support local farmers, eat seasonal fruits/vegetables.....eat food that is fresh all while cutting down on your oil consumption.
Go Organic--Yes I know that organic food is more expensive but consider the costs of eating non-organic. Conventional foods are coated in a slew of toxic oil-derived pesticides. Pesticides have recently been linked to ADHD in children. By choosing to eat organic you are helping to keep our environment cleaner, protecting the health of farmers/farm laborers and the health of your family....along with cutting down your oil consumption.
Say no to plastic and STOP littering--8% of the world’s total oil use goes into plastic production and all that plastic will be around long after we are dead......they take anywhere from 1,000 to 1 million years to degrade. The result of our love of plastic has resulted in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In 2009 photographer Chris Jordan visited Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean and took photographs of dead albatross chicks. Why did these chicks die? Their parents fed them plastic debris which they had mistaken for being food. The result---each year hundreds of thousands albatross babies each year are choked, poisoned and suffer from deadly blockages. Please stop littering....please dispose of your plastics responsibly.....please cut down your plastic consumption. We share this Earth with other animals who deserve a chance at life.....they don’t deserve to die because of our selfish need for cheap plastic.
Say no to plastic & paper bags---Plastic bags......or as I like to call them disgusting outdoor tree ornaments......begin their very long life as natural gas or other petrochemical substances. Factories across the world manufacture 4 to 5 trillion plastic bags each year. Most of these bags can be recycled at stores but sadly only 0.6% of the 100 billion plastic bags used each year are recycled while the rest fill up landfills or become plastic bag tumbleweeds or those disgusting tree ornaments along the side of the road. Paper bags are more likely to be recycled but their environmental impact is stunning. 14 million trees were chopped down in 1999 to manufacture the 10 billion paper grocery bags. The best choice is a strong, washable and reliable canvas bag. They can hold A LOT more then a plastic bag and won’t tip over. The next time the bagger at the store asks “Paper or Plastic” please reply “No thank you...I brought my own canvas bags.”
Raise your voice---Support national/global climate change legislation. Call your senator, congressman/woman and tell them to do their part to cut down our oil consumption. Tell them to support policies that will provide us with real long-term solutions. If your representatives aren’t listening to you vote them out of office during election season. Stop voting Democrat and Republican. Stop voting in the same people over and over again who do NOTHING and are nothing more then puppets for big corporations and lobbyists. Support and vote for Green Party candidates who aren’t puppets!
Tell President Obama to end all new offshore drilling and to bring an end to our selfish addiction to oil. Say NO to more offshore drilling---More drilling in the Gulf is not the answer and we can’t afford another Gulf of Mexico disaster.
"You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your Grandfathers.
So that they respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.
Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the Earth is our Mother.
Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the sons of the Earth.
If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.”
Native American Wisdom
Our children....Pugsley, Morgan & Samuel say thank you for making a difference to make the world a better place for all creatures big and small.
Our Mother Earth....treat her kindly.