The earth faces numerous environmental crises caused by pollution and other impacts from human beings. Here are suggestions for steps you might consider to help improve the environment.
1) Talk the talk: Make ecological awareness part of our social fabric and culture as Americans. The more you learn about the complex relationships between living things and their environment, the better. Talk to your family and friends about the things you know and learn.
2) Walk the walk. Instead of driving a car, walk or ride a bicycle to the grocery store or anywhere else. If the destination is too far, consider other means of transportation. The traditional gasoline car is the worst polluter. New electric cars are affordable for many and completely free of toxic emissions. Consider the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt or the Tesla or any one of the new, "green" cars.
3) Recycle: This is the most common and, in most cities, the easiest, most accessible thing we can do for the environment. Most cities in Los Angeles County provide separate containers for trash, recyclables and garden clippings as well as convenient pickup. We can recycle many household items, including computers, printer cartridges, aluminum cans, paper, plastic bottles, milk jugs, batteries, steel containers, glass and much more.
4) : No longer can we take clean water for granted. A third of the world’s population does not have access to clean water. Only 1 percent of Earth’s water is safe and available for humans to use. Minimize your use of toxic chemicals and use them with caution as they tend to end up in the groundwater.
5) Use renewable energy at home and work: Use renewable energy sources such as wind, sun and geothermal; rather than nonrenewables such as oil and natural gas. Many new American technologies are available, such as solar panels and solar shingles.
6) Vote 'green': Select the elected officials who are most likely to deliver environmentally sensitive solutions such as more parks, bike paths and all sorts of government oversight and industrial guidance and incentives aimed toward renewable energy, slowing population rates and conservation. Consider these tips about our government.
7) Buy locally: Buy produce at the farmers market or at grocery stores that buy local produce and meats, poultry and fish. Farmers markets operate in almost every neighborhood of Los Angeles, including Encino. You'll get food that is fresher and brought to market with less pollution because it is transported much shorter distances than products often found in chain stores.
8) Create more, consume less. More people are learning that life becomes more fulfilling when they create a gratifying lifestyle with friends, loving relationships, and passionate careers. In doing so, they tend to lose the urge to consume wasteful products. Consider the book by Erich Fromm, To Have or To Be.
9) Do your part to control human population: Is it necessary to breed? Today, many people choose not to procreate and find fulfillment in their careers and communities of friends. Many people find their purpose and joy of life by developing themselves through the arts, sciences, sports or other domains. Humans already reproduce more than our planet can sustain. Consider the sobering facts about population.
10) Keep learning and building habits: Little by little, develop simple, practical, daily habits that impact our environment in positive ways. Most any religion tells us that we humans are part of the eco-system and responsible for the earth. Consider how ancient wisdom of the various religions teaches us this simple view, as referenced in the links below.
Mark Biskeborn (biskeborn.com) is the author of Mojave Winds and the recently published A Sufi's Ghost, and the yet-to-be-published Mexican Trade. And more: Short Stories: Californians and Other Cowboys, as well as Decades of Poetry, and Ten Years of Underground Essays.