How amazing is that? This year, New Year’s Eve falls on a Blue Moon (a second full moon within the same month,) as well as a partial lunar eclipse. Surely, that must portend something wonderful. New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection, resolutions and celebration. We actually made some progress this year in turning the world toward a sustainable future. In 2010 let’s do something really radical by saying “Yes” to the richness of the living world that surrounds us and aligning ourselves with the principles of nature. Nature is not about “survival of the fittest”, competition, greed and self-obsession. It’s about cooperation, attraction, creativity, celebration and whole-hearted participation in a sensuous, dancing web of interdependent relationship.
While we’re getting our groove back, we can also make a few simple, pragmatic changes that will collectively make a big difference to the planet.
7 – Actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint (and save you money!)
1) Avoid driving 20 miles a week = 850 Lbs. of CO2e avoided and savings of $166.
2) Request the smallest trash container and larger recycling bin, (compost the rest) = 12,000 Lbs. of CO2e avoided and savings of $96 (varies locally.)
3) Ditch your dryer – a 50% reduction =760 Lbs. of CO2e avoided and savings of $40.
4) Install 4 CFL’s = 650 Lbs of CO2e avoided and savings of $28
5) Participate in renewable wind program = 7,796 Lbs of CO2e avoided.
6) Wash clothes in cold water = 230 Lbs of CO2e avoided and savings of $12.
7) Set computer & monitor to sleep at night = 200 Lbs. of CO2e avoided and savings of $10.
ANNUAL SAVINGS 22,486 Lbs CO2e avoided and savings of $351
(Above statistics courtesy of Rosemarie Russo, Fort Collins.)
7 – Actions to harmonize your lifestyle with nature
1) Kill your lawn and replace it with native landscaping or vegetables. – The average person uses 150 gallons of water a day and in Colorado 60% of that goes to support landscaping! What if all that precious water was going into producing food? Food security would cease to be an issue. Growing native plants in your landscape provides tremendous benefit for birds and butterflies.
2) Keep cats indoors and dogs on a leash in natural areas. Estimates vary but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say’s that cats (both feral and domestic) may kill as many as 100 million songbirds a year. Dogs off leash can kill or severely stress wildlife and dog waste can transmit diseases to wildlife.
3) Feed the birds (Mary Poppins was right!) – Over the past 40 years bird populations have declined more than 60 percent in Colorado. Providing food for wild birds helps off-set habitat loss. Anyone that has a garden pond also knows that birds greatly appreciate having access to water in the winter.
4) Learn about local flora and fauna – When does liatris bloom? What pollinates it? It’s amazing how your mind changes when you see the details in your environment; plants, butterflies, animals and birds begin to reveal their secrets. Wild beings might even start showing up in your dreams, perhaps they have things to tell you.
5) Eat Local – There has been a lot of discussion about the carbon reduction of eating locally but it also starts to build your body out of the land you live on. And it’s a great way to meet the people in your community.
6) Re-Indigenize yourself – Learn about your ancestors and remember that human beings have walked this Earth for hundreds of thousands of years. Invite their wisdom back into your mind and more importantly into your body (we’re going to need it!)
7) Take time to appreciate the world around you, breathe and smile.
Jim Tolstrup is the Executive Director of the High Plains Environmental Center in Loveland, Colorado. HPEC works with developers, businesses and homeowners, to promote the restoration and conservation of Colorado’s unique native biodiversity in the suburban environments where we live, work and play. www.suburbitat.org