I've heard lots of people wondering when everything is going to be back to "normal" again. Food prices are crazy high, gas is well on its' way to $4 a gallon, homes are being foreclosed on at a record pace, and the polar ice is melting. Life ain't a bowl of cherries in the good old USA.
Well folks, I think we are going to have to re-define the word "normal". At some point the real estate market will recover, at least to a degree. Eventually the dollar will stabilize, and that will help. But some other, more ominous factor are in play. Our society is suffering from our indulgences. We're driving huge SUV's and trucks, we're using our corn supply to make fuel instead of food, we're guzzling water from plastic bottles, which we toss into the landfills. Those plastic bottles and plastic bags we use are both using up petroleum to make, and taking centuries to decompose. In the meantime, they are showing up in our oceans, lakes and rivers, and killing wildlife.
Speaking of landfills, we're also tossing our electronic waste into them also. Computer components, old VCR's, disposable DVD players. You name it, we're throwin' it out. Into the garbage. Now, we are encouraged to ditch the old incandescent light bulbs, and switch to compact florescent bulbs. Trouble is, they have small amounts of mercury in them. Guess what people are going to do with them when they burn out? Yep, toss them in the garbage, to be buried in yes, the landfills. Collectively leaking out all that mercury.
We need to do several things. Firstly we need to stop drinking bottled water. Hell, most of the water in those bottles is plain tap water. Fill re-usable bottles, use a water filter. It will give you more money to pay for those expensive groceries! We also need to ditch the plastic bags. Both of these measures will reduce oil used for their manufacture, and lessen the impact on our environment. If you must use these things, recycle them.
On that note, our communities need to step up their recycling and earth friendly measures. If we are going to push for the switch to CFL bulbs, we need to make it easy to find a way to recycle or dispose of them. Same goes with the electronic waste. In our city of 125,000 people, I know of ONE place to take electronics to recycle, and NO places to take used CFL's.
We also need more bike paths. I suspect more people would choose biking for errands if they didn't fear getting killed on the roadways. With higher gas prices, road rage is going to only get worse. It's already bad enough. I've been yelled at, had stuff thrown at me, and even had cars swerve at me on purpose. Yet our city is building more and more roads, but claiming poverty when it comes to bike trails. When they do build one, it is not adequately maintained. I'm guessing we have seen the last of cheap gas, so this seems vitally important.
I wasn't always an earth loving, hippie type Wiccan. There were the days I didn't think twice about wasting gas, throwing EVERYTHING in the garbage, and couldn't have cared less about our planet. One day I woke up and thought about what kind of earth I'm leaving my children and their children. You don't have to be a hippie, Wiccan or environmentalist to realize a need for concern and change. You can start to have a positive effect by just doing a few of these simple things.
- Will It Ever Get Better?