welcoming myself back

I grew up being aware of the environment and our impact on it. As a child, I remember my family using the cloth bags from a bygone grocery story and the ubiquitous PAPER, PLASTIC and GLASS colored recycling bins. In middle school, a teacher would share lessons from 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. It was then that I learned about cutting six-pack rings so turtles, birds and other animals wouldn’t find themselves stuck and in danger. 

Over the years, I stuck with recycling. I credit my parents for instilling this in me, with their participation in the city recycling program. Their actions helped me grow up feeling like it was normal and easy to be green. Cloth bags in 1991? My dad being vegetarian when I was younger? It all stayed with me and helped shape my views.

A few years ago, I decided to get more into environmentalism. It felt like a calling, and still does. Our actions, as humans, are destroying our environment, but even more, they’re destroying our descendents’ environment. Our children and grandchildren are going to live in a different world from ours. WE live in a different world from our ancestors’. One of the biggest reasons I care so much is because such simple actions can make big differences.

Being greener doesn’t have to require spending more money or changing everything about the way you live. There are so many ways you can make yourself greener. Small actions count. Changing one habit at a time counts. Start easy and make it routine. See where you can expand your practices. In many cases, you can save money - and that sweetens the deal. I get the satisfaction of knowing my carbon footprint is smaller than others’, but I also have the satisfaction of lower utility bills and spending less at the gas station.

It’s simple to me. Why NOT be greener? What really is the benefit to continuing to be wasteful? Sure, it involves changing habits. But the benefits of those changes outweighs the drawbacks. Denying that it makes a difference is simply denial to change. It DOES make a difference. Summers in South Louisiana are brutal. And they take a toll on the utility system. I remember some summers in the past few years where the utility system threatened to implement rolling blackouts because the strain on the grid was too much. Because people were using too much electricity, and being wasteful with it. Changing your own ways - turning off lights that aren’t in use, turning off TVs that no one’s watching, turning up the thermostat a few degrees while no one is home - cuts the electricity demand, reduces the strain on the grid, and helps to avoid a rolling blackout. 

It makes a difference.

Why not make a difference?

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