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Earth Day Tips
Alex Steffen, 18 Apr 06

The venerable Worldwatch Insitute has put out their own little ten-things-you-can-do-for-Earth-Day list. We don't generally focus on this level of stuff, but this is as good a list as any other (and more details for each are available on the Worldwatch site):

Re-route your commute.
Buy used.
Buy local.
Compost your food scraps.
Change the thermostat setting and install energy saving devices.
Skip the bottled water at the grocery or convenience store.
Make your own cleaning supplies.
Think twice about new electronics.
Add one meatless meal per week.
Use your local library and other public amenities.

Of course, we might add one more: support Worldchanging

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"Little things" may help, but are not going to be enough to get you through the coming Energy Decline. How about:

* End your commute. Figure out a way to work at home on in your neighborhood. Get rid of your car completely!

* Downsize your house. Do it before the housing bubble busts. Why do people need 300 sqft master bedrooms to be unconscious in? This will help you shed excess stuff, as well. And the resulting yard sale will enable your neighbors to start on their list with "Buy used!"

* Plant a garden, so you'll have something to do with all those composted food scraps. This one is so obvious, I can't believe WorldWatch left it off. They didn't even have any suggestions for what to do with all the compost you'll begin to collect!

* Collect rainwater off your roof, and use it for garden irrigation. For the very ambitious: re-plumb your sink and shower to separate black water and gray water -- use the gray water (nutritious with food scraps from hand-washing dishes!) for garden irrigation.

* Get rid of your lawn. Replace it with locally appropriate, low-care native plants (preferably edible or medicinal) that do not require watering nor cutting. Then get rid of your pollution belching lawn mower.

* Make all your meals meatless, but don't substitute highly-processed "meat look-alikes" -- learn how to prepare balanced, meat-free meals using unprocessed legumes and grains.

The fact that such lists are so bland, so uninspired, speaks to how far we have to go to reach true sustainability. I understand where Worldwatch is coming from, but it really should have had a list of "the next 10 things to do once you've done these..."

Posted by: Jan Steinman on 18 Apr 06

Or, even better, a vision of what a prosperous sustainable life could be like, with a road map for getting there.

But that said, as someone said in response to my climate visions post, there is a place for starting to do what you can now...

Posted by: Alex Steffen on 18 Apr 06

I wrote a parody of lists like this, about a year ago:

Almost nobody got that it was a joke. Not sure what that means.

Posted by: Dave Roberts on 18 Apr 06

I posted my 10 thoughts for Earth Day on "The Green Skeptic" blog:

Here's a taste,

"1. The Climate Crisis is looming. We have enough science to know that there will be changes, whether dramatic or modest, and we must take action now to abate this threat, mitigate its impacts, and invest in alternatives to improve our chances for success.

2. The poor need a hand up not a hand out. Global poverty alleviation is a necessary conservation strategy and the moral imperative of our generation..."

Read the complete list at:

By the way, Roberts' list was a gas. We need more humor like that.


The Green Skeptic

Posted by: Scott Edward Anderson on 22 Apr 06



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