Why Go Green?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the world population is expanding at a mind-boggling rate. The world reached 1 billion people in 1800; 2 billion by 1922; and over 6 billion by 2000. It is estimated that the population will swell to over 9 billion by 2050. That means that if the world’s natural resources were evenly distributed, people in 2050 will only have 25% of the resources per capita that people has in 1950.
The world has a fixed amount of natural resources - some of which have already been depleted. So as population growth greatly strains our finite resources, there are fewer resources available. If we intend to leave our children and grandchildren with the same standard of living we have enjoyed, we must preserve the foundation of that standard of living. We save for college educations, orthodontia, and weddings, but what about saving clean air, water, fuel sources and soil for future generations?
Some of the greatest threats to future resources come from things we throw away everyday. Household batteries and electronics often contain dangerous chemicals that may, if sent to a local landfill, leak through the bottom barrier and pollute the groundwater. This can contaminate everything from the soil in which our food grows, to the water which will eventually come out of aquifers and into our tap water. Many of these chemicals cannot be removed from the drinking water supply, nor from the crops that are harvested from contaminated fields. The risks to human health are tremendous.
Throwing away items that could be recycled diminishes energy, water and natural resources that could be saved by recycling.
Did you know...
- For every ton of paper that is recycled, the following is saved: 7,000 gallons of water; 380 gallons of oil; and enough electricity to power an average house for six months.
- You can run a TV for six hours on the amount of electricity that is saved by recycling one aluminum can.
- By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
- The more we throw away, the more space we take up in landfills. When a landfill becomes a “landfull,” taxpayers have to build a new one. The less we throw away, the longer our landfills will last. The amount of taxpayer money we save by extending the longevity of our landfills is an important community benefit.
Need (more) reasons to go green this year, or go greener? Here you go!
- Losing weight. Follow this simple, monthly plan for the new year from The Green Guide to green up your life, and you will have dropped 3,000 pounds by the end of year ... 3,000 pounds of carbon that is.
- Losing weight, the other kind too. It wouldn't be a new year's list without a mention of body weight. Try to eat more whole foods and reduce your dependence on packaged food. You may realize an added bonus, along with reducing all of that packaging waste, you may find you'll lose a few pounds from your waist!
- Hauling less trash out to the curb. More careful recycling (and possibly composting) will mean less and less trash to haul out to the curb each week. Being more thoughtful with your purchases before you buy them, known as precycling, could even have a larger effect.
- Saving money. As you try to take some simple steps to green your home, like lowering your thermostat a bit, trying to find second-hand versions of things you need before you buy new, and generally following the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle lesson, you may find that you'll start saving money too.
- Looking cool at the supermarket or the coffee shop. Bring your reusable bags to the supermarket and that reusable mug to the coffee shop and you'll be looking all hip, not unlike all those Hollywood folks.
- Being a good role model for your kids, nephews, nieces. The best way to teach kids about the environment is to be a good role model. When kids see you recycling, being careful with your consumption, and taking them outside for a nature walk instead of to the mall, they learn to appreciate the natural world.
- Expanding your horizons. You may find that you'll start wanting less and less, and start questioning your purchases: "Do I really need that?" As you reduce your need for physical things, you may find that you start seeking more real-life adventures and experiences, enriching your life.
- Indulging your competitive streak. Challenge yourself. See how little trash you can produce this month, how long you can make that tank of gas last or how low you can set your thermostat. One fun game is to make some simple changes at home regarding electricity and heat. Then analyze your energy bill to see how much your usage went down. The result may shock you!
- More time. You may find that you have more time. Time that you used to spend shopping (and returning) or maintaining all of your stuff. More time to hike, bike, walk, read, think or just chill.
- More happy vibes. You may find your home will become a happier, more groovy place as you strive to make it greener: less clutter, less waste, more of the good things of life. Information from "Top Ten Reasons to Go Green in 2008" by Patricia Mayville-Cox, December 31, 2007.