Protestors, both on site and from a distance, came together and won the denial of the Dakota Access Pipeline permit yesterday. This alone is cause for much celebration as the drinking water for thousands, maybe millions, of people has been saved. A second cause for celebration is that awareness was heightened as a result of Standing Rock about the many, many environmental risks associated with fossil fuels. And, finally, we discovered that standing up together can still make a difference.
All good news. But there’s still more work to be done.
In Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown wrote how it must have seemed to the 19th century Indians that the European settlers “hated everything in nature—the living forests and their birds and beasts, the grassy glades, the water, the soil, and the air itself.” That’s sometimes how it feels to me whenever I read about ocean pollution, mountaintop removal, tropical forest clear-cuts, and the continual vanishing of key animals from bees to bats to bears. We hate nature.
But surely we don’t. Yet we’ve been trying to save the planet for decades; some argue that the whole notion of saving the earth is cliché and outdated. I think it’s more important now than ever. But as Standing Rock taught us, saving the planet will require commitment, tenacity, and patience on the part of many people. If you’d like to do more to save the earth, but you’re not sure how to proceed, you’re not alone.
Often times my blog is about reading and writing. Here are 6 steps I’m taking to help the Earth that include, but aren’t limited to, reading and writing. I invite you to participate with me.
Last month I went to a film festival and it opened my eyes to all the different ways the planet needs our help. After that, I started to read a lot of articles online and a couple of books. If you read my November newsletter, you saw that it listed 25 novels, 13 nonfiction books, 5 films, and several websites to check out. ICYMI, click here to see the list, along with a few additions since last month.
Research environmentally-focused organizations
There are a lot out there! I looked for those that aligned with my current areas of concern and values. On a broader stage, I’ve decided to follow and support the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council. I’ve also picked some local organizations that are focusing on the environment closer to home.
Again, so many issues, so little time. For now, I’m looking at fighting against fossil fuels and fighting for the wellbeing of marine life.
Decide what I can offer
How can little ol’ me channel my passion into results? I’ve chosen to donate some money, and I’ve also decided to write letters of advocacy and activism. I’m a writer, right? So I’m sitting my butt in a chair to write to legislators and other powers-that-be about issues that matter to me. I’m also thinking about gathering up friends, family, and colleagues now and then in the name of a favorite cause to share what I’ve learned and invite them to join me in the work. (What a great excuse for a party!)
Set up a schedule
I’m a great procrastinator, especially when I have to do something that doesn’t come naturally to me. Or something that seems immaterial or nonessential. But saving the earth is both material and essential! So I’ve now got the out-of-my-comfort-zone letter-writing task scheduled as a Monday activity, right along with my #MondayBlog.
Figure out how to make changes every day
I impact the Earth every time I drive, bank, and shop.
• I’m not ready to buy a new car, but when I do I’ll either go hybrid or electric. For a list of the best hybrids and electrics according to Car and Driver, go here. Meanwhile, I’m trying to do a better job consolidating commitments and errands when I do leave the house.
• Standing Rock alerted me to just how many big banks invest in fossil fuel entities and other non-environmentally-friendly companies. I’m switching up where I’m going for my checking and savings accounts, and for my credit card, too. Want to know how to break up with your bank? Check this out.
• I’ve bought mostly organic and natural foods for a long time, at least for certain food products. For others, like cantaloupes or avocadoes or bananas—stuff with nonedible skins—I didn’t think it was all that important. But I’ve realized that buying those types of products from the organic shelves is important for workers who handle the products and for the environment where the products are grown. Demand creates more supply, right? So I’m going for organic now whenever possible. And local, too, to save on those nasty fossil fuels.
• When it comes to shopping for non-edible consumer products, I confess I haven’t given the environment much thought. Now that I’ve started researching companies that are better for the Earth, I’ve begun to compile a list of some of them. Try this link for a list of cool companies that care. (Disclaimer: I do not guarantee the veracity of this information; also if a company was omitted, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just didn’t cross my radar! Feel free to send more names of cool green companies to me.) Also check out http://www.greenbusinessnetwork.org and www.greenamerica.org.
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It’s easy to get discouraged when thinking about the environment. So much doom and gloom. And it does seem that we humans wind up destroying every wild thing and place we encounter.
But hey! We stopped the DAPL, at least for now, and we saved the drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. We’ve cleaned up lakes and rivers in the past, cut down on automobile emissions, and banned DDT. Organic and natural products are now mainstream, and the Prius is no longer viewed as a weird vehicle from outer space.
And actually, we must.
Next up: The Eco-Friendly Shopper’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide