All of this time at home has me thinking about changes I can make to live a little a better, more harmonious life. I can’t help but wonder how much difference it makes if I turn off the lights, turn up or turn off the A/C, compost my vegetable waste and plant a garden. How much will I lower the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? How much will I lessen the food insecurity of the world? The answer is: not much. But I know I’m not the only one; I am one more. Maybe someone else will see the steps I take and think, “I can do that too”.
I came up with a few ideas I can implement right now:
First, I really miss having a clothesline. At my previous house I hung out my clothes all summer long. The smell of bed linens dried with sunshine and warm breezes is heaven. An extra benefit is that sunlight is a natural disinfectant, and just think of all the energy saved. Even though I will be the only person in my neighborhood, I’m having one put up in my backyard this summer. I can’t wait!
Then, I visited a new dentist this year. After a lot of poking and prodding, the hygienist suggested that I use an electric toothbrush (we have several right here at the receptionist’s counter). I understand that my brushing technique may need tweaking, but another appliance to do something that I can handle on my own? What a waste of electricity! Not to mention the $200 for the toothbrush.
Another easy thing I can do is dust off my leaf rake. Raking is great exercise. Instead of going to the gym for a cardio workout, I will pick up a rake and leave the leaf blower in the shed, saving lots of electricity, again cutting my carbon footprint not to mention lessening the noise pollution.
When I was growing up, on Legion Road, my dad and I would spend an hour or so when the night sky was clear with a flashlight and a star map. The Milky Way slashed across the sky and every now and then we were treated to the Northern Lights.
Today, living in the suburbs, I can barely see a few random stars. There is so much outdoor lighting these days. Why is this necessary or even welcome? If turning off the lights isn’t an option, there are alternatives to old-style lighting. Eco-friendly outdoor fixtures cut the ambient light escaping into the night sky and focuses the light only where it is wanted or needed.
This much light in the night isn’t just unnecessary, it’s harmful. Birds use the moon and stars to navigate, along with the earth’s magnetic field when they migrate. If they can’t see the stars they can’t find their way. Some seaside communities decided to turn off their lights at night when they discovered newly hatch sea turtles, who follow the moon’s path of light on the water, couldn’t find their way to the sea.
This is a good time to for me rethink my priorities and the kind of world I want to leave for my grandchildren. It is their creativity and self-reliance that will teach us all how to live in harmony and not in dominance with this one-and-only earth, our island home.
Copyright June 27, 2020
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