Thanks Leo, Now What Do We Do?

by - Monday, February 29, 2016

from Wikipedia
Added- DiCaprio's facebook page is also addressing what we as citizens can do by directing people to Moment for Action, a site where you can sign a petition to  encourage world leaders and CEO's to take a stronger stand on the environment and climate change. It takes like 30 seconds to do, so please consider joining in. 

Last night, Leonardo DiCaprio "finally" won an Oscar. Why finally, I am not sure. I guess he has been nominated a lot. Though I don't have strong feelings about the actor one way or another, While everyone else talks about how he is long overdue for the award, I think the focus should be on the things he when he won. I did love that he used his acceptance speech as a warning about Climate Change. That chunk of his speech went like this:

"Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species."

Now these aren't just some empty words thrown out by an out of touch actor. This man backs up his concern with action. He has his own environmental foundation, is a leader in the World Wildlife Foundation, has spoken to the UN on the issue, and has put millions of dollars into cleaning the oceans and against fossil fuels.

So, Leonardo DiCaprio, I may not get your dreaminess (so many too young girlfriends), and I can only watch so many Martin Scorcese movies without being sure I never need to see another man in my life, but damn you have my respect.

But here's the problem, I am not a millionaire, and I am willing to bet you probably aren't either. I think it is kickasss when people use their wealth to do genuine good, but when a problem is so huge (literally encompassing everything around us), it can be hard to know where to start when you don't have oodles of resources.

The good news is that we can still do something. In fact, we can still do a lot.

Global Warming, Climate Change, however you see it or say it, was made with a few huge decisions and billions of tiny ones. We have the power to be involved in both. Want to start making positive changes? Here are some small (and less small) steps you can take to reverse the momentum in your own life. You can do them all, or you can do one, but do something.

1. Minimize your Life- Consumerism is out of control, and we all have too much stuff in our house. This may seem unrelated, but if you are worried about the climate, try donating a good chunk of your belongings. Having less can help you be more aware of what you already have and keep another person from buying something new. Try amazing groups like Buy Nothing that has a gift economy, so you can help others by offering up your unused stuff. More is not better. Bigger is not better. Newer is not better. If you can see what you have, you can make do with it much longer.

2 Buy Less, Buy Used, Buy Local- Articles like this one prove the correlation between our inability to quit shopping and climate change. Up to 60% of fossil fuel use is literally fueled by our shopping. So we need to slow our roll on shopping. If you don't need it, don't buy it. If you do need it, ask whether you can get it used. And if you have to buy it new, check out what is made here in the United States or (even better!) in your own neighborhood. Do you know most of your clothes travel from overseas? Think about how much  fossil fuels are wasted just so that companies can use cheap, unethical, and unsafe labor. If we care about the Earth or if we are Christians, we need to stand up against this and STOP giving imports our money, because they are a chief culprit in this.

Change your shopping, change the world.

3. Become an Informed Consumer- This is what this blog is all about. The easiest, cheapest, most in our face option consistently fails our health and our environment. We can do better, but it takes some time to find better options than those Fisher Price toys or Maybelline mascaras or zip loc bags. That's what I am here for. If you do a little research (or ask me, I will do it for you!) and make a plan, we can avoid the easiest cheapest option which, in the end, is costing us dearly. If you want more information, check out my List of Shopping Lists, which has all sorts of shopping options when you are sick of Made in China plastic nonsense.

4. Eat Less Red Meat- Beef and dairy production are chief culprits in our overuse of fossil fuels, not to mention the creation of methane gases. It uses a tremendous amount of energy and water for you to eat that hamburger, so it better be delicious. I am not suggesting giving up meat completely if that won't work for your life, but we could all stand to eat less. You have plenty options for making this switch in your diet. In our house, we have Meatless Monday. I have also given up red meat so my husband only ever has beef when we go out to eat. You could also decide to do meat-free lunches or to only eat a steak once a month.

5. Walk More, Drive Less, Look Where your Energy Comes From- Pretty self-explanatory. How much gas are you using a week in your car? How much energy are you using in your home? We all know this one. Don't leave needless lights on. If you can walk, do so. I know I can do better at this, and I bet we all can.

6. Recycle and Buy Recycled- Trees are one of the most precious allies we have in these environmental battles. Every time you buy paper towels or toliet paper or printer paper, trees have come down. And just for the most pointless reason. It is slightly more expensive (but not as much as you think), but this simple switch can save hundreds of trees in your lifetime.

On the other hand, plastics are most often made from petrochemicals- that's right, fossil fuels! You want to minimize your consumption of fossil fuels? Ban plastics in your life. Only use post-consumer plastics, refuse single use plastics like grocery bags, drinking straws, and water bottles, and recycle your plastics!

7. Pick a Cause and Commit- World Wildlife Fund. Wildlife Conservation Society. The Nature Conservancy. Greenpeace. There are so many groups fighting these battles on multiple front. Do your research and find a group or two that speaks to the aspects you care about most- clean water, regulating industry, protecting biodiversity, etc- and sign up for their mailing list. Sign their petitions. Support their lobbyists. Give them money. We may not have a million dollars, but if a million of us have one or two dollars, the results are the same. You can only do what you can do, but be honest with yourself, you might be able to do more than you are.

8. Volunteer Your Time- Our generation gets a bad reputation, but we are one of the most involved in the country. If you are worried about this, consider volunteering to help. Live near a waterfront? Go clean up the beaches near you (it's one of the most important things you can do). GO PLANT TREES. See what is going on in your neighborhood and get involved!

9. Vote- How do your candidates discuss climate change or environmental stewardship? Don't believe in climate change? Fine. Do you believe that we are treating the Earth in a sustainable way? Me either. If they aren't talking about it, it means it's not a priority to them (or worse, they are in some industry, protecting someone's money over the well-being of the country). This isn't about political party or what team you are on; there are involved and smart politicians on either side, and we need to support them over people who refuse to address the problem for their own selfish reasons.

10. If you See a Problem, Work to Solve it- This one is easier said than done, but you know what I am talking about. If your neighborhood doesn't collect recycling or green waste, maybe it's time to go to a board meeting and push for it. Your workplace isn't environmentally-responsible? Get in there and help make changes! Could you introduce some environmental stewardship programs (maybe composting?) to your church? There are so many solutions if people will take a stand.

Our culture seems slanted to make us feel powerless, as if any change we make isn't enough. If we aren't Leonardo DiCaprio, making big speeches and raising big money, then why make the effort. It's not true. We may only have power in our own home or our own communities, but those ripple effects will outreach us in time and space. You don't have to do all of these right away. Make changes you can sustain, but don't feel apathetic and stop trying. We are borrowing this world from future generations, and they can't afford our inaction.

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  1. Could you do a blog on how to make environmentally friendly choices while living in an apartment? I have nowhere to recycle, and I know there are little suggestions I've missed on saving energy while living alone in a big space.



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