Friday, November 27, 2009

What is the simplest thing we can do to help the environment?

Reduce consumption.

Understanding the impact on the world of our everyday "buying" decisions is a very good first step. When these seemingly disconnected decisions are aggregated for entire populations and/or markets, the impact becomes very significant.

Whenever you buy something ...
  • Think about having to manufacture millions of that one item (that is usually the effect a market as large as the US has on most mass related products), ...
  • then, think about the amount of raw materials that will be required and where they are coming from, ...
  • the fuel/energy required to manufacture them, ...
  • the fuel/energy required to transport them to millions of consumers like you all around, ...
  • the space required to dispose of them when they are no longer useful
Worst of all, think about all those raw materials and all that energy gone forever ... and, the fact that the cycle has to start again for the next batch.

How many of these cycles do you think the earth can support from raw materials to land fill? Not many at the scales we are able to produce these days ... in the meantime, all trees in the Amazon, Russia, and Indonesia will disappear, all coal and oil will pollute everything we see with CO2, plastics, chemicals, etc.

So what is there to do? Easy. Reduce consumption.

And whenever you do buy something:
  1. Be aware of where it comes from and its likely impact on the environment if you follow the cycle described above, or
  2. Buy things that are locally produced, or
  3. Buy something used instead.

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