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25 April 2005
Earth Day 35. Are We Getting Anywhere?
Meteor Blades at The Next Hurrah has a nice post about Earth Day, its origins and evolution over the past 35 years. At times it's been an effective focus on environmental issues and at others its only been a diversion. Ultimately, MB asks us what we're each doing toward the goal of environmental improvement and sustainability.
Whenever I get into this conversation with my friends, we all fervently agree that without an eco-friendly governmental policy – worldwide – the long-term future of human beings (and other large mammals) on this planet will be grim. But then comes equally fervent disagreement over how much each individual can or should do in the absence of government policy. I don’t mean whether we can all be like Goldman Environmental Prize winner Father José Andrés Tamayo Cortez - obviously not.

But what should we do when it comes to more mundane matters? Use public transportation more often? Stop eating meat growith fossil water and over-grazed public lands? Buy a composting toilet? Opt off the grid until hydrocarbons are out of the electricity-generating biz? Help kill the pesticide industry by spending more for organic lettuce and strawberries? Keep the air-conditioning off until room temperature hits 80? Light the house with compact fluorescent lights even though they’re ugly in some fixtures? Return that low-flow showerhead we yanked off one frosty morning? Remodel solely with often pricey green materials?

It’s a prodigious list of the big and the tiny, and after half an hour, the eyes of the SUV owners have narrowed into slits, a couple of vegans are having it out with the carnivores, and the sole owner of solar roof panels has tipped his nose way up into the air.

So, what have you done to make your personal life more environmentally sound? Be honest. Don’t tell us you bike 10 miles to work if you’re driving what Devilstower at Daily Kos christened the "Chevy Subdivision" on your commute.

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