Sunday, April 25, 2010

Earth Day

Over the years Doug and I have become avid recyclers. We recycle plastic, glass, aluminum, tin, and paper products. I would say that in an average week we recycle one bin of paper products, two kitchen garbage bags of plastic, glass and tin. We don't have curbside pick-up, so we make one to two trips to the recycle "dumpsters" each week. There are numerous spots around town located in school and grocery store parking lots. Our dog loves to go with us. She takes off for the door at the word recycle or when she sees us gathering the recycle containers.

In the past couple of years we have begun to collect our batteries and old electronics and dispose of them properly, as oppose to just tossing them in the trash. I have to thank Batteries Plus for collecting old batteries for recycling. Last year we gathered up all our plastic planters, the kind you get when you buy plants from the nurseries. Some of the nurseries in our area will take these containers and either reuse or recycle them. Casey's, local nursery and florist, now takes old vases and recycles them. My understanding is that most of the vases go to the local university's art department. The art students break the glass and use it in their artist pieces. I'm thrilled with how resourceful many businesses are becoming in an effort to reduce waste.

During the summer Olympics in Beijing, China, there was a lot of media attention pointing out the air pollution in Beijing. During this time Doug and I began to make a concerted effort to use our cloth bags for grocery shopping. We would tell the grocery store baggers that we were providing our athletes with cleaner air. I have to say that Doug is very good at remembering the bags or going back to the van and getting them. I'm not as good. Now we've spread our cloth bag usage to many other areas of our shopping such as the book stores, Target, and the mall, etc.

My daughter bombarded us with statistics about the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs. She badgered us until we finally began to use them. Last year almost all of our bulbs were compact fluorescent. After two winters of using those lights, I broke down and began replacing them with incandescent bulbs. I cannot stand the dull light output of the fluorescent bulbs. I guess you win some Earth friendly battles and you lose some.

I can't forget to mention the many days of the year when Mimi and Doug walk to school reducing our gas consumption. Something that a few more of us in our household need to do. We continue to look for more affordable ways in which we can be environmentally friendly.

So earlier this year when I heard Ed Begley Jr. was going to come to the university and be part of a lecture series, I was quite excited. His television show, Living with Ed, was one of my favorite shows. I loved the banter he and his wife had and the competitive spirit among him and Bill Nye (the science guy). Although he is extreme in his environmentally friendly lifestyle there are lots of good ideas and information to be gained from this entertaining show.

So when April rolled around I tried to round up some people to attend the lecture with me. Oddly enough no one in my household was interested and neither were my teaching friends. Sadly enough some said, "Who?" So I trudged off by my lonesome to listen to Ed Begley Jr. I was impressed that his message was temperate and non-radical. He basically spoke about how his father's thrifty values and the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, influenced his Earth friendly behaviors. He described many of the small steps he took over the years that later led to the big changes he's incorporated into his life today. Get this he drove his Toyota Prius from L.A. to Illinois. He highlighted three environmental issues that I think all would agree are problems, air and water pollution, ozone layer, and dependency on foreign oil. Bottom line his message was do one thing to be more environmentally friendly.

Here I am with Ed Begley Jr.

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