Green Lifestyle Handbook
Jeremy Rifkin and Greenhouse Crisis Foundation, 1990
Buy appliances that are energy efficient. Use less energy by turning off lights and other electronics when you aren’t in the room or they aren’t in use. Share or borrow items. Recycle. Properly clean up after using toxic materials. Try to substitute natural nontoxic items in place of toxic items.
Americans throw away 2.5 MILLION bottles every HOUR. In a year’s time the average United States Citizen uses 200 pounds of plastic and 60% of that is from packaging. In order to produce all that plastic almost 1 BILLION barrels of oil are used—enough to meet the nation’s demand for imported oil for 5 months. That plastic also releases tons of ozone-depleting CFCs. Most plastic ends up in landfills, although some of it is burned. The burned plastic releases dioxins, furans and hydrochloric acid.
Still more disconcerting is that 45,000 tons of plastic were dumped into the world’s oceans every YEAR! Up to 1 MILLION seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals are killed each year by plastic trash such as fishing gear, six pack rings, sandwich bags and Styrofoam cups.
About 4 out every 5 parents used disposable diapers. On an average a baby will use 10,000 diapers before they are potty trained. Plastic diapers make-up 4% of our solid waste—enough to fill a garbage barrel every 6 hours. A disposable diaper takes an estimated 500 years to decompose. A cloth diaper, after numerous uses, will only take about 6 months decompose. In addition, plastic diapers are less comfortable than cloth and can cause rashes. Not to mention that they cost a lot.
Buy in Bulk and use Paper Bags. Don’t use Styrofoam. Try wooden toys and wicker baskets for storage. Use wooden bowls and cloth shower curtains.
Automobile accidents have been responsible for more teenage deaths than all the wars of the 20th Century combined. The car killed 1 million people by 1952 and its 2nd million by 1975 and its 3rd Million by 1994. Each year 8,000 humans are hurt or killed by accidents involving animals on the road.
69% of Led, 70% of Carbon Dioxide and 45% of Nitrogenous Oxide and 35% of Hydrocarbon in the air are from all forms of transportation that run on fossil fuels. Some 33% of the emission are from cars alone.
Aerosol products, some cleaning products and refrigerants contain CFCs.
In 1986, Office Buildings used more than 27% of the BTUs used in the USA, which is over 641 Trillion BTUs. And American’s throw away enough paper each year to build a wall 12 feet tall that could stretch from NY to LA. Paper should be reused or recycled.
New Jersey exported Garbage to Ohio. The waste generated in the USA alone would fill a convoy of ten-ton garbage trucks over 145,000 miles long, which would cover the distance from here to the moon.
Any religion which is not based on respect for life is not a true religion until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace ~Albert Schweitzer
If our Earth is barren, our imagination would be as empty as the mood, our senses as dull, our intelligence as limited.
40,000 children starve to death on this planet everyday even though there is enough food to feed them. Americans alone eat more than twice the protein they need on average.
Planting a tree is a spiritual as well as physical act. It is an act that effects many generations to come. “He that plants trees loves others beside himself” ~ Thomas Fuller, 1732
Tragically, deforestation has reached crisis proportions. Since 1967, the rate of deforestation has exceeded one acre for every five seconds. Moreover, worldwide deforestation is approximately 27 million acres a year. Much of the deforestation is taking place in Brazil, Indonesia and Zaire, which contain nearly half of the world’s tropical forests. The worldwide rate of deforestation is 10% of the rate of re-forestation.
The Central American Rain Forests are depleted at even faster rate for cattle grazing. 138 million pounds of beef is what American’s consume. Just one fast food burger requires a clearing of 55 square feet of tropical rain forest. When trees burned, they emit 500 pounds of Co2 into atmosphere.
Deforestation causes 25% of all CO2 emissions. Therefore, scientists see re-forestation as one of the most critical tasks in combating global warming. To reverse the effects of the greenhouse gas crisis, we must plant enough trees to equal the landmass of Australia.
Acid Rain also contributes to the Green House Effect. Recent research indicates that Acid Rain prevents soil microbes from consuming methane, adding to the Green House Gases.
When the area of a habitat is reduced by 10% of its original size, the number of species that can persist in it indefinitely will eventually decline by 50%. Since 1960, over 86% of known apple varieties have been extinct. Since 1960, over 2,300 pear varieties have become extinct. 2/3rd of Japanese Rice varieties have been lost this century. About 90% of Florida’s citrus harvest is from three varieties. There used to be a lot more. Only 6 varieties of corn make up 70% of the US Crop.
“I think I could turn around and live with animals. They are so placid and self-contained. Not one is dissatisfied and not one is demented with the mania of owning things,” ~Walt Whitman.
Soap sometimes contains the tallow of not only exhausted dairy cows and over worked chickens, pigs and cattle, but also tallow of the 7.5 million cats and dogs killed at shelters each year.
Skiing, backpacking, bird watching, mushroom hunting, snowshoeing, fishing, snorkeling, rock climbing and even just walking, can help us celebrate the ecology in our lives.“Whenever people say we mustn’t be sentimental, you can take it that they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, we must be realistic, they mean they are going to make money from it.” ~Brigid Brophy.
Involve kids in gardening. Aside from learning to love dirt and plants, gardening can be an antidote to watching too much TV.
We must transform our entire economy—its industrial, agricultural and transportation economies—from fossil fuel and toxic based economy to a more sustainable form of humanity. We must start practicing Environmental Democracy—each of us taking control of our environmental future.
“It is possible that progress might be nothing more than the development of an error.” ~Jean Cocteau.
Organizing efforts have become ever-more important to stop environmental destruction due to the multi-national corporations. Years ago, if you poisoned a well or cattle, you went to prison. Today, relaxed enforcements of environmental laws have allowed our water, air and land to be poisoned, wildlife killed and humans victimized—all in the name of corporate profit.
We suffer from NIML or Not In My Lifetime. But we must be active. Hopefully the 90s will be the decade of the Activist Consumer. The weapon of choice will be consumer boycott.
Mother Earth is sending us many signals that she is at risk. We ignore her symptoms at our own peril.