The Heat is On
Just last Friday I wrote about the fact that it was the middle of October and I hadn't turned on my heat yet. That changed yesterday when the temperature in the house when I got up for my morning walk was 59 degrees. The heat turned on and I released the thermostat from the hold function (so the heat would have always gone on if it hit below 59, but would have never gone above that) to run its regular cycle. (So that it goes down to 60 overnight and then makes its way up to the upper 60s during the day.) While I like not having to use the heat (saving me money), I recognize while I enjoy warmer days, it SHOULDN'T be quite so warm at this time of year. (Nor do I want snow in May, which it DID do in May of 2020...yes it was just flurries and it didn't stick, but NJ should not have snow in May.) So, I have been thinking about climate change/climate crisis.
Funnily enough, on Sunday, I attended a service that addressed the problem from a Christian angle. In my view, God created and gave us this planet and it is our duty to care for it and nurture it. Specifically, I'm thinking of the Old Testament: "You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”
As a mother, I feel that it is my responsibility to nurture my son and to make sure that he has a safe place to live. That doesn't just mean a house; it means a safe and healthy environment. It means a healthy planet that he can grow and thrive in and (hopefully) so can his descendants. Sadly, at this point, my son feels that this planet will NOT survive as we know it. He is somewhat of a fatalist, who thinks that all that mankind has done to the planet dooms humanity, but that after we are gone the planet with survive, maybe in a better space without human selfishness.
I pray that he is wrong. I want this planet and the people on it to not just survive but thrive. I want it for myself and I want it for generations to come. And perhaps a little selfishly, I want my heirs to look back and say that I was a good person for what I did.
Now I am NOT a perfect person. None of us are. I use oil to heat my house; I drive a gasoline fueled car. Neither of these things are changing in the immediate future. I KNOW they will eventually change, as even my husband has said that before we repave our driveway (which desperately needs it), we should get an electrician out to run a line to our (detached) garage. After all our next car will most likely need electricity. (And this foresight comes from someone who does not drive.)
I was given a list of things that I could commit to do to help this planet on a variety of levels. Number one on the list was composting. This is something I don't do, but certainly could. I have an area in the far back portion of my yard where old branches and leaves end up...why not include apple cores and onion peelings. My son carved a pumpkin recently. He threw none of the "innards" out, but left them in lower portion of the yard where I later saw deer consuming them. (Not composting, but still better than trashing.)
Other recommended actions are things that I already did or partially did:
- Use cloth napkins: I do...but not every night...there's something I can improve on. The cost of paper napkins and/or paper towels is not much, but I'm always up for saving whatever money I can.
- Wash clothes in cold water: I almost always do this unless for some reason I HAVE to use hot water. This is not just to aid the planet, but decrease my costs.
- Walk to school/reduce car trips: I only drive my son to school because he needs to be there before 7:30; if he walked he'd need to leave before 7 in the morning and I don't see this happening with a teen...on days where he doesn't need to be there early he walks and he almost always walks home. If I need to pick up a few things that the local grocery store or pharmacy, I walk. Both my son and I are big walkers...this is not only helps our environment, but certainly helps our health too.
- Write to local representatives about my concerns: I've done this is the past. I can do this again now. With email, it's so easy (and quick too). Shouldn't my representatives be as concerned as I am about the future of the planet? Shouldn't I let my representatives know that I vote for those who share my concerns? Finally, when casting my vote (and I will be doing so in 2 weeks), I WILL take into consideration the candidates stance on the environment and climate change. (Don't even TRY to get me to vote for you if you are a denier of the problem.)
- Put up a clothes line and use to dry your clothes: Well, I have one outside and inside. I use both. But I need to use both MORE. This is one thing that my son has over me BIG time. He's into quality clothing which means hanging to dry (and then ironing). I need to work on a way to get everything on that line and NOT in that dryer.
By doing the above and taking other actions (the list was long and included some other actions that I confess that I am not currently able to engage in) I will NOT save the planet. But if we all took steps...if we all TRIED, then there IS hope. Even if each of us took little baby steps and worked our way up...
I have committed to all of the above and a little more. Much will be easy, some will be more challenging. But isn't it worth it? Isn't it worth doing what we can for ourselves, our families, our friends and the future of our planet? I can only answer for myself and say yes...this is what I need to do. What say you?