I woke up early this morning to go for a run when I noticed a chicken crossing the road. Don’t worry, this is not an elaborate set up on the old “chicken crossing the road” joke. No, I really saw a chicken crossing the road. It was so bizarre that is caught me off guard, it was actually fascinating to me since I live in a suburb, not on a farm, near a farm, by a farm, on a street with farm in its name, and there was a chicken crossing the street. I felt like I was in a living Hilights magazine page, you know the little kids magazine with the, “Which of these things doesn’t belong” game.
Anyway, I kind of just stood there focused on this chicken, oblivious to everything else happening around me, which wasn’t very much since it was 6 in the morning, and waited to see where it was going. I think the chicken was also out for a morning constitutional around the block, since it kind of just walked accross the street and back. Then it slowly made its way to back to my neighbor’s house, who lives 3 doors down from me, and disappeared between the bars in his backyard fence. What the hell man!? Why does my neighbor have a freaking chicken as a pet? Then it dawned on me, he doesn’t have a chicken as a pet, he probably has that hen laying eggs for him in his backyard.
That is actually a cool idea, fresh eggs every morning. It’s so much more healthy and humane to do it that way. He is controlling what the chicken is eating thus controlling the nutrients that are going into the eggs he will be consuming. Not to mention he can control how the chicken itself is treated. And, he is saving money and helping out the population of chickens that are abused in these huge industrial chicken factories.
That got me really thinking, “What else is this guy doing that is helping out the environment, and helping to reduce his carbon footprint?” I actually didn’t truly care what he was up to, per se, I was actually more concerned about what it was I could be doing to reduce my carbon footprint. Its all fine and good to say that you are going to do something, or to have the knowledge that something needs to be done, but to actually go out and do it, putting your money where your mouth is, well, that is the step I have been needing to take.
So I went on line to do some research to find out exactly what I could do to put up or shut up. I wanted to find out information and find out what was fact and what was fiction about going “green.” And what I discovered is that there are a lot of easy things I can do, besides owning a Prius that can help limit the carbon footprint I am leaving. I want to help the environment, my fellow man, and of course myself to thrive in this overpopulated, over polluted world that we keep trashing. I came up with a list of things that I could do and could easily. I read this quote and it just makes good sense, “Being environmentally-friendly is just good economics”
•Own your own chickens-if you have a back yard or the room on the roof, or space anywhere, you can build a chicken coop, and have hens lay you fresh eggs daily.
•Get to know my local farmers– Find out about community gardens, or you can join a co-op and have local organic produce delivered to your house. Attend farmers markets
•Compost heap-follow the link bellow to help you understand why having one is a good idea, and how easy it can be to make.
•Recycle-take the time to separate your garbage. Try not to throw everything away in one bin and hope that someone else will separate it. A few seconds separating can save a few hundred years of decomposition.
•Plant and sustain a garden-Once you have your compost heap going you can use that soil to help plant your fruit and veggies. If you don’t have a lot of space you can start small and grow your own herbs. Even grow small flowers to brighten up your living spaces. Gardening can be very therapeutic.
•No more bottled water-Do you know how many bottles are in our oceans and in our land fills that will be there long after we are dead? Use a thermos or a reusable bottle. Get a filtration system, or simply use a Brita water filter pitcher. Let’s get rid of the bottle craze. Sure they are convenient now, but when we are suffocating on all the waste, it will not have seemed like such a good idea.
•Dishtowels not paper towels-Buy dishtowels and use them in the kitchen. When they get dirty, you wash them. Every little bit helps, not to mention the money you save on paper towels.
•Buy quality items, not cheap and disposable ones that get thrown away and just add to the already overflowing landfills.
•Carry your own grocery bags, reusable-I love my grocery bag, it carries so much more than you would think. And they make ones for your hot and cold items. They carry them at most stores and they cost a buck or maybe 2. What a bargain.
•Natural light-Use your windows for what they were made for, to let light into your house
•Repurpose paper from your printer– Instead of throwing out those sheets that are misprints, or rough drafts (students), you can just flip them over and use the other side as note pads, or doodle pads for you or the kids
•Donate your old clothes, or repurpose them-There are people out there that need our clothes. If you want, do a garage sell. I am lazy and I routinely donate clothes I no longer wear or that don’t fit, stupid tacos, to Goodwill industries. You can turn old towels or t-shirts in to rags for cleaning, or to wash your car. There are all kinds of things you can do.
•Learn to sew-This is for men and women. Learn to repair your clothes. Our generation is the “throw away” generation. When something breaks, or stops working, it somehow finds its way in the trash, instead of trying to fix it. There is nothing wrong with sewing a patch in a pair of ripped jeans, pajamas, or shirts. Maybe it will become trendy again to do that. Who knows? But you are saving money, and saving an old comfy pair of pants that you might yet be willing to part with.
Together we can make the world a better place. Also, stay informed about different bills and proposition that are on the ballot. You should know both the economic, social, and the environmental impact of what you are voting on. Knowledge truly is power. The old TV commercial tag ling is correct, “The more you know…. the farther the Earth will go.” We only have one planet, and you have a choice, so choose wisely.