I want to resume the posts here at Organic Sanity by looking at some of the modern day things that we as a race do that is doing immesurable harm to the planet on which we live. Things that to an individual, or family group seem like not really a big deal.
But when you add up all the families or individuals who run households in a country the size of Great Britain, then what we do collectively is a very big deal. Take that number and multiply it by 5 to get a country the size of the United States and it becomes quite scarey.
Multiply that number again by four and you get a country like China or India and it then seems almost hopeless. So what are some of the things we can do collectively to give this planet of ours some breathing space?
Notice I don't say anything about trying to save it, because we're past that now. Its damage limitation time and maybe, just maybe we might leave some space for mother nature to come back from the brink.
It's not just about the big overall picture of saving a planet when you're more concerned about where the next monthly mortgage or rent payment is going to come from. Or where your next meal might be coming from, for that matter.
Take the big picture down for a while because it is overwhelming. And when something is overwhelming, it looks an almost hopeless task to do anything about, so a a race, we generally tend to ignore it and hope it goes away.
Well, your grandchildren may not thank you for that attitude, but they might just understand it.
So I am, instead going to look at ways to limit the damage we all are already doing bu taking some very down to earth scenarios and making them look very achievable. Why? Because a lot of what we waste can be avoided by using some of that grey matter the gods have deemed to scatter inside your craniums.
Brains! Yep, we all have them so why don't we all use them? Common sense is a term bandied about an awful lot, but how many of you actually believe you have a good grasp of what common sense actually is?
This series of posts will take that common sense and make it obvious. Obvious about what simple and almost unbelieveably tiny changes in the way we thing and act that can bring about a huge shift in the chances our Earth has of providing as much for our grandchildren as it provides for us. So let's get started with the first of our articles on Cutting Waste.
How can you cut down on the amount of rubbish, trash, garbage or whatever you want to call it? How can you cut down when you have a baby that produces a huge mountain of throwaway nappies for instance?
How can you cut down when you are so broke you hardly buy anything at the stores to eat in the first place?
How can you cut your garbage pile at all?
Well, just by thinking about the question, you are already getting the common sense portion of your brain into gear. When you look around you and take note of everything you put into the trash can, you are suddenly becoming aware of what you are throwing out. Then you work backwards and see what is coming into your house in the first place that is going to get thrown out later.
Then it hits you!
The shops and stores are producing most of what you as an individual or familay are throwing into the land-fill sites by the bag-load every day.
So what can you do about it?
Avoid Buying Pre-Wrapped Goods
Start shopping in stores that don't pre-wrap everything. In our grandparent's day, very little was pre-wrapped. When they bought fruit and vegetables those fruits and vegetables were on display unwrapped and naked in the display shelves and wracks of the greengrocer store. The store assistant weighed their stuff and put it into paper bags.
They put the paper bags into a larger basket or bag that was re-used every time our grandparents went to the shops! No plastic carrier bags, in those days. The landfills were almost nonexistant because there was so little trash thrown out in those days.
Because there was so little pre-wrapping of goods in those days. Stuff came in cardboard boxes or paper bags and guess what paper and cardboard does when you get it wet and pile it up? Yep, it rots down like any other prganic material and does not produce any pollution. It can be mixed into a comppost heap and returned to the earth as good organic matter.
Am I stirring any thoughts or ideas yet?
We bring home with us a lot of plastic and that is tough to get rid of. If you pile up plastics and get it wet, it doesn't rot down. It just stays there and tangles up with organic matter and retards its rotting down process as well.
So the landfill sites fill up quicker and we start running out of places to put it. Its no good dumping it into the ocean, because fish can't eat plastic - in fact it kills them. We eat fish and the more we kill unnecessarily, the less there will be for us to eat. But that's a story for another post.
So what do we do with plastic that we have to throw away?
Use that common sense again. Separate it from the other trash, collect it up and store it in a big bag and when its full, take it to your local recycling centre., that's what. Its not hard, not difficult to figure out. That little bit of extra can-do attitude will mean that little bit less plastic gets dumped into land fill or into the sea. More fish for you and less pollution for your grandchildren.
More on Reducing Waste
Cutting waste and reducing your impact on the environment was the subject of the last article here at Organic Sanity and I want to continue this theme with a slight variation in not cutting physical waste but actually cutting power wastage and some of the simple, yet obvious things that you can do to achieve this that a surprisingly large amount of people still do not do!
Reduce Power Consumption
First and a real no brainer is to turn down the thermostat on your water heater. Even cutting this by two degrees make a huge saving not just on your power bill each year but reduces your impact on the power consumption of the whole planet. "Yeah, right..." I can hear all the numbskulls saying to themselves "My two degrees is gonna make such a huge difference hahaha!" Well as I mentioned in the last post, if no one else did it, then you'd be right and I'd be the idiot.
But the idea is that if a thousand people did it in every town, that would make a huge impact on fuel wastage by morons who think this is all a joke and the power will never run out!
You can tell I'm ever so slightly passionate about this!
Radiant Heat Loss
Next fuel saving tip is to close your curtains at dusk in the cold weather season. Why? It cuts down on the amount of heat escaping through the glass in your windows. Glass is a lousy insulator and a large percentage of heat is lost through the glass in windows and doors in a house.
Next fuel saver is to check you have turned off that hot water tap properly. If its dripping, then that is your money dripping down the plug hole along with more wasted fuel. Another no brainer.
Another thing that gets me mad is when I see someone filling a kettle to the brim to make a single cup of coffee or tea. Why would anyone want to boil a gallon of water to make one cup of hot beverage? Well, an idiot would because an idiot doesn't know any better.
But most people are not idiots, so why do they do it? Beats me, but they're wasting a huge amount of fuel. The average kettle drains a massive three kilowatts of electricity out of the grid every time its switched on so it makes good horse sense to only boil as much as you're going to use.
Common sense? You bet!
The last fuel saving tip covers a whole host of idiot gadgets. Power cubes, phone chargers, TV and DVD player standby modes etc... Oh boy, don't get me started on these babies!
Power cubes consume far more electricity than they actually dish out to the appliance they are powering. This is bad enough as often you have no choice on this, but if you leave them plugged in when you're not using the appliance guess what? They're still drawing power!
Who the hell know why they're designed that way but whoever the moron is who invented the damn things should have used a tiny bit of common sense and built in a simple mechanism to stop them doing it. Because people are often forgetful and leave them plugged in without realising that they're stealing electricity from them and adding an extra overhead to their quarterly bill!
Phone chargers are just as bad, drawing power even after your phone is fully charged up. You need to unplug them as soon as you can to save wasting electricity.
Best Until Last
But I save the best to last. The standby mode on your TV, stereo or video/DVD unit and can also found on a whole host of other electrical appliances that can be operated with a remote control. Guess what is happening when you switch any of them to standby?
They are drawing almost as much power as they would be if they were fully on! That means if you go to bed and leave all your entertainment systems, TVs and whatnots all left on standby mode, you are effectively doubling your electricity usage over time - that's doubling your bill people!
Try being a little old fashioned and switching the appliance off with the "Off" switch instead of flipping the remote at it. You'll be amazed at how much money you'll save and the energy suppliers will thank you for it by reducing the load on the generators. Which cuts the amount of fuel wasted to produce that electricity in the first place.
Which is good for the planet that you live on.
Win-win, I believe this situation is called...
The Saga Continues...
Well I'm back again with another instalment on how to cut down on waste in all areas of your life here at Organic Sanity. What I've done is combine three shorter articles on the subject into one longer one to keep things simple and easy to find on the site.
So, this final section is where I want to look at some simple ways of brightening up your garden at night without drawing any power from the national grid.
Solar Powered Lighting
Solar garden lighting has come a long way in recent years with a more user friendly profile and a more in your face positioning at the big DIY stores. Add to that the fact that they have come down in price quite a lot as well as improving the amount of light emitted with ever better LED's (Light Emitting Diodes).
And they are now a seriously good choice for providing some nice ambient lighting for patios, paths and other areas that you need some light outside bit don't want to be a drain on the nation's power resources.
Different types of solar lighting can be easily sourced from many different big DIY outlets such as B&Q, Homebase etc as well as large supermarkets that carry home and garden supplies and also garden centres.
Solar garden lights work on a simple principle that uses a small solar (photovoltaic) panel which generates electricity when the sun shines on it. This electricity is then fed into small rechargeable batteries housed inside the unit.
When the sun goes down, they can be set to automatically switch themselves on (or it can be done manually) and the small, electricity miser LED emits a bright white light powered from the batteries. A full sunny day's charging will be enough to keep them lit all night long and they will then switch off when the sun's light hits the photovoltaic panel and the cycle begins anew.
This is such a great way of cutting waste by not using national grid electricity to light your garden especially when for the most part, no one is even going to be in the garden!
So if you haven't already got some, go out and buy some!
Ok, that's it for this longer article, even though I'm certain hat it's long enough already. I'll write more on this subject later, maybe, so keep an eye out for it, won't you?
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