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June 21, 2010 – If the people lead, will the government follow? A poll conducted by Stanford University’s Jon Krosnick indicates that 75% of Americans believe human activities are causing climate change, and that the government should take action. (Read more at the Worldwatch Institute website, www.worldwatch.org) Krosnick goes further, and critiques recent Pew and Gallup polls which show much lower numbers. Thank you, BP? I’d say that was entirely possible. Now let’s get the Senate’s version of the climate bill passed!

What do YOU do to conserve energy and clean the environment? I’ve been tallying up efforts at my house, and came up with what I think is a creditable list. My husband and I each purchased cars that got mileage in the 25 mpg range during the 1970’s. (Today our cars each get roughly 30 mpg. Talk about sad!)

When I had the kids, I switched from chemical household cleaners to vinegar and baking soda. That was in 1985. I now buy Mrs. Meyer’s products in addition, because I love the lavender scent. The reason for the switch was to decrease my children’s exposure to carcinogenic substances. I grew my first vegetable garden about the same time, though not yet organically.

My first compost pile took shape around 1987. By 1992, I was growing both my flowers and my vegetables organically. It was in the mid-90’s that we began cutting back on red meat and eating more chicken. During subsequent years, we decreased our consumption of chicken. Today, I’m a vegetarian, in which my husband sometimes joins me; he’s more of a flexitarian. We’ve always saved loads of wash until we had a full load, which we then wash in cold or warm water. Same with the dish washer. We’ve recycled since the early-90’s. I’ve washed plastic bags and re-used them since then, too.

Today, I purchase as much organic food as I can. During the summer, I grow vegetables organically. I do a little bit of canning – every year I say I’ll do more! We were never very conscious of the thermostat settings, mainly because my husband feels the heat so terribly. He needs the house to be c o l d in order to fall asleep. We’re doing better with allowing the house to heat up during the day while we’re at work, though we do have two pets who need to be kept in mind. During the winter, we allow the house to get pretty cold, piling on the sweaters and blankets as needed. We have water-conserving toilets and shower heads. If I didn’t have such thick hair, I’d wash it in the sink.

More important than any of these, I’ve kept in touch with my elected officials to let them know I care about the environment. I’ve also measured the acidity of rainfall for the Audubon Society (I think it was them – it’s been awhile), and counted backyard birds in winter for the Cornell School of Ornithology. I arranged to get the pH readings of local rainfall published in the local paper. I’ve skinned birds for two museums, and I’ve counted birds at Christmastime, and other times, as well. I worked on a committee to get voluntary recycling started in one town, with very satisfactory results, and attempted the same thing in another town, to far less effect.

What the heck am I trying to say? Don’t just think about it – DO SOMETHING!

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