World Water Day – take action

by mo on March 22, 2010

In honor of World Water Day,  I offer a few ideas of what I am doing. Nothing earth shattering, but I feel I am trying to do my part.

Avoid plastic. Beyond using reusable shopping bags at the grocery, stop and consider how much pre-packaged food comes in plastic. This is difficult to cut down and avoiding it entirely may be impossible but it is possible to reduce your use and cast a “vote” that the industry may hear one day.

  • It takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade. Even if we stopped using plastics today, they will remain with us for many generations, threatening both human and ocean health.

Adopt a canvas bag. I have a great collection of favorites, all well used. They never wear out. It is now second nature for me to never go shopping without them.

  • The average American will throw away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • 8% of the world’s oil is used for plastic production.

Recycle and reduce what you throw out. This is getting tougher. I am still trying to dry out and get rid of over a dozen cans of oil paint the former owner of my home left us. Get the specifics of how your community recycling program works so you can identify what cannot be recycled and avoid bringing it home in the first place.

Beautify the neighborhood Milwaukee River Keeper’s Spring Clean Up is April 17th. But you can do this any day that works for you. Pick your favorite park or waterway and do your part.

  • Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
  • Plastic does not biodegrade; instead, it photo-degrades with sunlight, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, but they never really disappear.

Don’t eat endangered seafood. You would think that this could not possibly happen: The Hump, of Los Angeles-based Typhoon Restaurant Inc. accused of illegally selling meat from an endangered whales species closed its doors for good Saturday as a “self-imposed punishment.” They thought no one would notice?

  • It is estimated that 70% of the worlds fisheries are threatened or endangered.

Garden green. My lawn is not perfect. I use organic weed and feed products and pull weeds with a great weed puller. Do I miss a lawn that looks like a golf course? Not in the least.

Clean Green. I have simplified my household cleaning products to the barest number possible. One organic cleaner works for the floors, kitchen and bath. Another does the laundry. I do use a glass cleaner at times though prefer ammonia/vinegar/cornstarch!  Our grandmothers kept a clean house long before we got sold on needing a separate cleaner for each surface.

  • 32 million pounds of cleaning and garden products are poured down drains daily, polluting the waterways that we drink from.

Pick up after your dog.  Poop on the beach is disgusting, but never put it in storm drains!

  • One gram of dog waste contains 23 million fecal coli form bacteria.      (www.stormwatercenter.net)
  • 95% of fecal coli form found in urban storm water was of non-human origin. (USEPA, 1993)

Take a walk and marvel at the beauty of Lake Michigan every day possible.

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