One reason that we have been flattening the curve of the corona virus is that our government has directed each of us in no uncertain terms of specific things that we must do, and most people are doing them. If you think about it, this is a tactic that is very rarely used to solve public problems, and yet it is the one that seems to work best.
In contrast to this, the health of our planet, and what each of us must do to improve it gets little publicity. We go on with business as usual poisoning our earth as if nothing we did individually mattered, with virtually no directives. Although most of us do understand that something must be done, it is pretty overwhelming. Where do we begin? And wouldn’t tackling these problems demand draconian measures by our government; what could one individual do?
Really, some of the measures that could make a big difference are exceedingly easy and simple. We hear plenty about global warming, turning down thermostats, driving fuel efficient cars and weatherproofing our homes, all very important, but here I would like to mention a couple of things that don’t get talked about enough.
Last summer we read about algal blooms that invaded Greenwood Lake, putting an end to water activities in certain parts of the lake. Algal blooms are not just a small local problem. These blooms are killing fish, and whatever eats them, creating dead zones in shorelines and large bodies of water, such as the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Superior and NY’s own Finger Lakes, and they are growing every year. But what can we do to stop them?
The easiest thing in the world – nothing! Algal blooms are caused by fertilizer runoff from lawns and farms. So just by not using chemical lawn fertilizers we will be doing our part to reverse the problem. And switching a chemically addicted lawn to an organic one also increases drought resistance, helps reduce bee colony collapse disorder, and is more healthful for our pets and children that play on them. We can also support our local organic farmers who don’t use these harmful products.
Second, each of us can produce less plastic pollution just by giving thought to the things we purchase. 700,000,000 large plastic jugs go into U.S. landfills and waterways every year from liquid laundry detergent alone. Instead we can buy powdered detergent in a box. We can look for eggs and milk that come in cartons instead of plastic. A few tea bags or a couple of lemons and a little sweetener will eliminate other large drink plastic containers, and save us a lot of money in the process. Shopping with this awareness if a lot of people do it would save our earth from a great deal of pollution.
If we wait for our government to tell us specifically what we need to do to protect the earth and pass laws it will be too late. There is no separating human health from the health of our planet. Each of us needs to start now with whatever seemingly small actions we can take to reverse the damage we are doing, and it will make a difference.