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HOW TO HAVE A
LIGHTER CARBON FOOTPRINT

An ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earthís ecosystems. Conspicuous consumption, waste, and the accumulation of material possessions place unnecessary pressures on natural resources and the environment. If we all consumed less, our footprint would be greatly reduced. Together we can all be a powerful force to change the path of climate change by demanding green products, reducing fossil fuels, and by placing our investment money in green products and technology.

For over 20 years articles have been written about the Ecological Footprint and how to build Eco Cities; however, when left in the hands of our present politicians, little appears to happen. One of todayís biggest concerns centers on the greenhouse gas emissions created by Albertaís Tar Sands; its production, at the very least, needs to be slowed down.

Resolve to drive less and either walk, bike or use public transit. Cars do not require lengthy warm up times. Slow down to reduce emissions as well as fuel consumption. Avoid idling and using the autoís air conditioning.

Unwanted food and textiles in a landfill cause greenhouse gases. Compost your organics and donate unwanted clothing to organizations. Clothing that cannot be reused will be recycled.

Install water-saving showerheads and take shorter showers. Use water sparingly while brushing teeth. Choose a bucket of water rather than a hose to wash your car. Rain barrels also play a role in water conservation.

Go Green if building or renovating. Insulate well. Shingle your home with a light colour to reflect the sunís rays and look into Enviroshakes, made with recycled plastic and rubber. Investigate straw bale homes and other Eco-living home structures.

Raising livestock for food has a huge detrimental effect on air and water. Try more veggie dishes and choose organic produce to reduce pesticide use. Grow your own vegetables and when in season support locally grown food.

On occasion many of us need to fly, but taking a flight for a weekendís entertainment or skydiving are the worst things you can do for the environment. Lotto ticket flight prizes and even airplane tributes and air shows should become a thing of the past.

To be energy efficient, turn lights off when not in use and the thermostat down at night. Hang laundry outside or on a drying rack.

Plant trees, as well as flowers and milkweed for the bees and butterflies.

If you live near the ocean and have not joined a crusade to tackle the oceanís pollution, help by picking up litter along a beach before it is swept to sea. Separate the recyclables. There is no such thing as garbage, just misplaced resources.

We depend on nature to provide a steady supply of lifeís basic requirements. The latest scientific report on climate change is grim, but there is a powerful environmental movement of grassroots activities. This decade will be challenging but if we each take on environmental issues, we will make a difference. We all have the ability, power of purchase, and a voice. Vote for Green choices.

Charles Darwin said, ďItís not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.Ē

Visit www.350.org and test yourself on Earth Dayís Ecological Footprint Quiz.

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Written by: Larraine Roulston, Castle Compost


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