Thursday, May 24, 2007

Leaving less of a footprint

Published in The Long Island Advance
May 24, 2007

It’s difficult to live in the world today and not have heard the words “global warming.” You can’t open a newspaper or read a magazine, go online or watch television without seeing something related to this topic. I’m initially good at not paying attention to issues that seem far greater then I am. If our government refuses to see the light, what can I, one person do about it?

For me it’s become increasingly difficult to ignore this subject. Some would like us to believe that scientists are needlessly scaring us, but I’ve decided not to take that chance. That’s why I now own six reusable shopping bags that I take when I go to the grocery store.

Ever since grocery stores replaced paper bags with the plastic ones, I’ve hated them. My five or six reusable bags hold the same amount as 12 plastic bags, which would often spill their contents all over the trunk of my car. I do wish that my environmentally friendly shopping bags were just a little less flashy though. They’re a bit too bright, but no matter, I’m not trying to make a fashion statement, just an environmental one.

Often when shopping in local grocery stores I look around me to see if anyone else is using the flashy bags and I have yet to spot anyone. I’m very good about making sure those bags are always in the trunk of my car and ready to use should I need to make a run to the store. Sure, once in a while I forget them and have to use the plastic ones. (I still haven’t figured out what to put the cat litter in, so for now I continue to need a few.) Yet, I would love to see more people leaving the store with all their groceries in the flashy new bags.

Leaving less of a carbon footprint is important to me. There are huge political issues involved. More than I have the time, the space, or the understanding of to write about here. For me, this is about being responsible for what my impact here on earth is. I can’t help believe that if everyone gave just a little more thought to that, it might very well make a difference. I think being
environmentally responsible now might be an important gift I can give to my children and theirs.

You all know how I feel about my car. Although for me one of the biggest draws to moving to a more urban area is avoiding those car dilemmas that I’ve written about, another is the fact that I will further decrease my carbon footprint. I realize that it’s almost impossible to live in Suffolk County without one, so I’m not anticipating a mad rush of people to follow in my particular footsteps. All I would really like to do is to get you to think in simple terms about what you can do to help stop global warming.

The Inuit’s are falling through thin ice while hunting; Polar Bears are starving while their natural habitat melts before their eyes. The poorest countries in the world will suffer the most, and the riches, the least. Maybe those of us here today won’t feel that suffering, but it’s a sure bet that the generation that comes after us will.

Do something to decrease your carbon footprint. Even if all it is, is to replace your light bulbs or start to shop for local produce, or to make a fashion statement by using those fancy new grocery store bags.

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