Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beaches and Trash

This past weekend my family and I took a little trip down to Galveston, TX for a last summer fling before school started this week. Overall it was a good trip. The hotel was nice and clean, the kids had a blast, my tan got darker, and we came home with lots of shells.

Even though we were not visiting the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, the beaches were nice. The waves were not very big, which was nice for the kids and you could wade out a good distance without the water getting too deep. One of the highlights of the weekend came Sunday morning as my husband and my oldest spawn were out playing in the water. They were very excited to not only see fishing jumping out of the water repeatedly but to see wild dolphins surfacing, apparently feeding. There were the usual sea gulls and pelicans flying around and doing what these birds do. It was a wonderful educational opportunity in more ways than one.

Now, anytime a trip like this is made a certain amount of education is expected to take place. As dutiful parents we point out how the tide comes in and out, how the birds find their food, what creatures the sea shells came from, and oh,by the way, look at how that plastic bag is washing up on the shore. Did you know we are polluting our oceans and animals eat all the plastic that ends up in the ocean? Here is a lesson I would prefer *not* to have with my child.

Even though we had a good time, I was disturbed by the trash that I saw on the beach. A straw here, plastic bag there, a plastic fruit cup somewhere else. Not only was it disturbing that this trash was lying on the beach but that no one was making a move to pick it up. People just kept looking at it and ignoring it even as the tide began to come in and threatened to take it out to sea.

Now, I will not claim that I picked up every piece of trash that I saw, even though I was tempted. I did pick up a few items however, including a plastic yo yo and a plastic bag that washed up beside me as I was coming out of the water. I did get some strange looks but if it encouraged one person to do the same or brought a little awareness it was worth it.

Overall the beaches were clean even though I did see room for improvement. I also can say that I did see cleaning crews out walking the beach the second day we were there picking up trash. The pictures I have included with this post are pictures that I took at the beach. All I have to say is, the Earth is your house too. If you expect the home you live in to be clean, why would not want to treat the planet the same way?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hot topics

I have often heard that one should not discuss religion or politics in mixed company or with those you wish to remain friends with. I think we should add the topics of global warming and environmentalism to that list. And here's why, some people are just stupid.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am a tree hugger and I will gladly admit that I don't know everything. Actually, there is a lot I don't know about global warming, carbon emissions, hybrid cars, and how all of this affects the economy. I may not be able to carry on the most intelligent conversation about what carbon dioxide is doing to our environment and our oceans or be able to spout out facts and figures at the drop of a hat but here's what I do know. I know that our energy grid is in dire need of an extreme makeover. Ty Pennington anyone? I know that other countries are way ahead of us when it comes to using green energy and building techniques. I know that there are changes happening on our planet that cannot be denied and we have to sit up and pay attention.

Now when I say some people are stupid I don't mean to be offensive but let's face it, it's true. Here is why I say this. I know some very intelligent people. The amount of brain power that some of these people have is impressive, however, you mention global warming or going green and you get this deer in the headlights look. It just makes me want to knock on their foreheads and go, "Hello! Anyone in there?".

Some people just don't care. Some people honestly don't know. Some know and are indifferent. To be honest, I'm not sure which is worse. We hear people whine about how it's too expensive to go green, they aren't interested, we can't fix the environment because it's too big of a problem. Well here's what I have to say about that, would you like some cheese with your whine? Come on people! We are Americans! We've gotten soft! It was tough people who founded this country, it was that forward thinking spirit that pioneered the wild west. In the past, when we faced a problem that seemed insurmountable, we pulled up our britches, dug in and figured out how to fix it! Why are we all sitting around now saying this is too hard and going to sit in a corner with a teddy bear?

Whether you believe global warming is real or not really isn't the issue. The issue is, it is becoming more apparent that we as a global society cannot continue to use and abuse as we have been. Fundamental changes have to be made is how we live, what we buy, and how we get the items we need. There are ripples of this being felt across the country. More people are interested in how to grow their own food organically, more people are turning to alternative sources of power, we are beginning to rethink how we build our homes and what we are putting into them. These are small steps but it is still not enough. Every person, and I mean EVERY person has to do something to help take care of the environment. Even if it's just switching to CFL's or LED lights. Every small step adds to the overall effect.

Education is key on so many levels. But when there is so much information out there and you try to educate someone and they still say, "Why should we reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Don't plants need carbon dioxide?" it just makes me shake my head and realize that some people are happier with their blinders on.

Friday, August 7, 2009

First things first

Hmmmm......what to discuss in a first blog for a new site. Well, to start, I want to discuss the responsibility we all have to help take care of our environment. I know, I generally jump feet first into things so here we go.

For many years we have heard environmentalists, often classified as hippies or tree huggers, claim that the way we were living was destroying our planet. If we did not mend our ways we would be looking at calamitous repercussions very likely in their lifetime or at least within the next generation. Their cries for reform were drowned out by the turning gears of industry and technology. The industrial machine was moving forward and most of us were content to go along for the ride, oblivious to what we were doing or just didn't care. We would pay attention when enough noise was made by the environmentalists but it still did not have a major impact on our everyday lives.

Now, the low rumble of discontent by environmentalists has become a steady roar that many people are still trying to ignore or just simply don't know how to respond to. Our awareness has been brought up a notch so that now we finally recognize that as a planet, we are in deep trouble. I say this knowing full well that many in this country still have not reached this level of enlightenment, but there is always hope.

So, now that global warming has been established as something that is actually happening, what do we do? As someone who has become environmentally aware, it still amazes me that there are tons of people out there who still do not know what global warming is, think there is nothing that can be done about it, or just simply don't care. Granted, not everyone will become an environmental convert or want to build their house out of dirt like I do, BUT everyone can become more knowledgeable and have a better understanding of what he/she can do.

Let's face it, most of the time, if something does not directly impact us we don't care. When it affects how we live or the pocketbook, then we become very interested in the problem. So we need to start with how environmental changes impact how we live and what we can do at home. Once people are educated about the little things they can do at home, then we can move on to bigger things in the community.

The thing is, it is all about steps. The problem may seem insurmountable, but when we take small steps we all make a difference. Global warming is a problem that is not going to go away by itself. It is also not something that can be fixed by governments or scientists alone. We have a responsibility and it is time we stepped up to the plate. We cannot sit back and wait on world governments to fix this. If we do, we'd might as well start looking for another planet to live on. I hate to break it to you but the planet does not need us but we sure need it.