Join me in being outraged

As oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico we are killing an entire ecosystem.  Since April 20th the day of the explosion, I have avoided looking at the photographs.  This has been my way of insulating myself from the horrors we as human beings are perpetrating on the plant and animal life in the Gulf of Mexico. 

I went onto Yahoo today to find the latest oil spill news.  In the top stories of the day only one pertained to the spill, it was about the Congressional hearing and holding oil executives accountable.  As I searched further, ads from litigation attorney’s popped up asking if I was damaged in the oil spill.  There was more news about celebrity homes, clothes, babies and cars than the Gulf story.  Where are our priorities?

I asked a friend recently, “If the incident in the Gulf of Mexico is not sufficient to create a national outcry for alternative energy, what does it take?”  His response was, “Personal hardship.”

As I reflect on this statement, I know he is correct.  When the price of gasoline rises, it makes headline news.  When we destroy an ecosystem, we turn our attention elsewhere.  

Over the last few years I have altered my life substantially to reduce my carbon footprint.  Most of those changes seemed awkward at first, but over time they have become part of the flow of life.   I have reaped priceless rewards, in terms of my physical, mental and emotional health, in the connection with like-minded community sharing a common vision of a life lived in harmony with the natural world, and in my heightened appreciation and respect for the natural world. 

What most of us do not realize is the personal power we each have to make a difference.  We cannot change our lives overnight to be oil independent.   Yet, we can make simple changes that add up. 

Tonight, I will walk out to my raised beds and pick greens for my salad.  The average item on a grocery store shelf has traveled 1500 miles to get there.  Add to that the average 10 miles a person drives to get to the store, and my simple act of planting a few lettuce seeds, will save 1510 miles.   Not bad for a little lettuce seed.

Don’t like to garden?  Join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or buy from your local farmers market. 

What is so incredible about focusing on sustainable living is that it produces so many other unintended positive outcomes.  For example, buying local also means the money stays in the local economy.  Eating local means your food has a higher nutritional content, so your physical health improves.  As your physical health improves, your mental acuity increases.   As you slow down your life you spend more time in community, creating heart connection with others, enhancing your emotional health.   There are benefits for your pocketbook as well, as most things that reduce carbon footprint save you money.

Here are some simple ways you can make a difference in your carbon footprint today:

  • Drive a smaller car or hybrid.  Car pool or take public transit to work or school.  If you live close enough to work or school try biking. It lessens your dependence on oil and is a nice workout.
  • Unplug your appliances when not in use, your TV, microwave, electric blanket, etc use electricity even if they are not on.  Unplug, be green and save some money.
  • Turn down your hot water heater a few degrees. 
  • Get a clothes line.  Hanging your clothes out can save you as much as 6% on your electric bill.
  • Plant your favorite vegetable.  Front yard, back yard, etc, pick a place and turn it into a place of bounty in your yard.
  • Grow your own herbs.  Most are perennial and will come back each year.  They produce large bounties and are easily dried by simply hanging them upside down in a well ventilated area. 
  • Join us the 3rd Sunday of any month for our monthly pot luck and farm tour.  You’ll get even more ideas.  If you live out of town, we have 2 guest rooms ready and waiting.  Learn more at www.RedSunflowerFarm.com
  • Start or join a transition movement in your community, www.transitionus.org
  • Green your portfolio, there are many green screened investments available.  Learn more at www.SocialInvest.org , call Andy or I at 859-331-7755 or  e mail me at Mackey@MackeyAdvisors.com

What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t about someone else, somewhere else, it is about you and me.  Let others do the finger pointing.  Use your energy for personal change.  Join me in being outraged, step up and make a difference, in your own life and in the future generations to come.