Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Environment is Everything

In an effort to do my part in the world, at least in my local area, the following is a letter to the editor I wrote in response to Monday’s Times-Gazette article on Freecycle.

Environment is Everything

I am most appreciative for the opportunity to have been a part of the article about Freecycle. Thank you to Jarrod and TG for bringing this subject to the public’s attention.

According to the national website Freecycle began as a way to promote waste reduction in Tucson's downtown in an effort to help preserve desert landscape and prevent it from being taken over by landfills.

The mission statement of the Ashland county Freecycle organization is “…to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources, and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community." The message Freecycle brings home to me is to think globally and act locally.

Freecycling is a win-win solution for everyone with access to a computer. I think that point was well covered in the recent article. As a longtime recycler and advocate for the environment, it’s my hope that many more will join and partake in this grassroots effort to reduce waste.

It is also my hope that more people will join the ongoing movement to live a simpler, more conscientious lifestyle that has for too long been lacking in America. I believe it is essential for us to wake up to the reality of our mass consumerism and it’s affect on the environment.

If we take a long, hard look at what is truly essential and compare that to how much waste we accumulate and produce as a result of our consumerism, we might be surprised. If we take a serious look at the affect our waste has on the land, the air, the oceans, the wildlife and how all these things suffer (and die) as a result of our need to consume in excess we might be appalled. It is time we wake up and smell the ozone.

We can all recycle, we can all choose wisely by supporting local and organic farmers, choosing products made from recycled goods, avoiding over packaged and “throw away” items and repairing rather than replacing. We all have the ability to think beyond ourselves, to practice and develop responsible habits. We all can reduce, reuse and recycle and in doing so alter the course of tomorrow.

Let us stop being the willing victims of capitalistic brainwashing and act responsibly by taking only what we need, using what we take and doing no further harm. Let’s choose to stop poisoning ourselves, our children and our planet with over processed, unnatural, genetically modified and chemically laden products. Let us think before purchasing goods that are designed only to benefit profit margins and which may be harmful or are likely to end up in a landfill.

It is my sincere hope that more and more of us choose to live in a state of global and environmental awareness by educating ourselves and taking responsibility as the stewards we are of this beautiful planet. It is after all our home, our only home. Let’s make it available to future generations and be remembered as the generation that did the right thing, not as the generation that could have.

There is a saying credited to the North American Cree. It goes, “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

Let us realize this before it becomes too late to act. The environment is our food, our water, our shelter, the air we breathe. It provides all that is necessary to sustain life...at least for now. Isn't it time we evolved into a more environmentally conscious, sustainable and responsible society?

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