Clean Air Starts with Me

Years ago, when I began my formal learning on environmental topics, I thought I had all of the answers about pollution.  It was industry, manufacturing, agribusiness, and big corporations who were responsible for pollution.  They were the problem.  They needed to clean up their acts.

It didn’t take long for me to see the flaws in my thinking.  The more I studied, the more I realized that my own actions had a bigger negative impact than I thought.  My car released too many pollutants.  My appliances used more than my fair share of electricity.  I wasted more food and threw away more trash than I should.  For a short while, I felt guilty and sad.  It wasn’t them, it was me!  But here’s the good news: If I’m the problem, I can make a difference through my own actions!

I didn’t have to fight huge corporations; I could start by making changes at home.  Our family started on the path to a more sustainable life by growing and raising most of our own food, which is my heritage.  I quit my bottled water addiction, realizing along the way that stainless steel water bottles full of my own (free) well water were much more fashionable.  We lowered the thermostat in winter and did the opposite in summer.  I started timing my showers to reduce water usage.  We cut our food waste and learned to buy less stuff.  We learned to live simply, more sustainably, and along the way we found our lives to be more fulfilling.

And now, over 7 years later, I’ve come full circle.  I feel that I’ve made as many changes to my lifestyle as I’m able or willing to make.  I don’t feel like a hypocrite when I say that it’s industry’s turn, and I’m going to do my best to see it happen.

I need to be politically active if I want to see positive changes happen on a larger scale.  Though I’d much rather watch the Science Channel than C-SPAN, I’m making efforts to be more aware and involved in environmental legislation.  I need to be an educated citizen; I need to vote; I need to take political action. 

I’m joining the Moms Clean Air Force, who has the mission of joining together to fight for our kids’ right to clean air.  Come join in the fight!

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4 Comments

Filed under Living from Scratch, Sustainable Living

4 responses to “Clean Air Starts with Me

  1. It occurred to me that there is a significant and determinable carbon and energy footprint for every $1,000 the US Government – or any state government – spends.

    That carbon and energy metric has to be determined, and must be used to evaluate every bit of government money spent.

    Food inspectors? They travel to places they inspect. They have an office – usually heated and air conditioned year-round, with standard gov’t lighting. Everyone on the payroll has to get from home to work – those that don’t bicycle or walk are consuming some form of energy, and using some public transport infrastructure. Each employee has a home; those with families consume more energy yet. Those making enough money will have hobbies, vacations, and favorite causes. Each of those activities consumes energy and fossil fuels – and can be calculated per $1,000 of government program money.

    Same with Dept of Ed, BATFE, DEA, and several other (large) government programs and efforts that I consider barely legal and more hazard to the US Constitution than benefit.

    I think keeping the energy use tied to the fiscal budget is imperative, if the government and the nation are serious about energy independence, and about achieving a sustainable level of energy consumption.

    • I agree that it would be a good idea to keep the carbon footprint of money spent in mind when budgeting. I think it makes a lot of sense to do that in our personal budgeting, too.

      Where you lose me, though, is when you say that you consider the Dept of Ed “barely legal.” I think we’ll have to agree to disagree there.

  2. I think that this cuts both ways. When industry pollutes, they’re making things that we use. So we have to be responsible in our consumption. But I don’t think that lets industry off the hook, either. We all need to work together to bring real change.

    I’m glad to see you doing it. Your actions inspire me. :)

  3. Pingback: MEET THE MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE | Moms Clean Air Force

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