Monday, December 7, 2009

What did you do today?

By Linda Helm

I just passed a person riding their bike to work this morning. No big deal, you say? OK. Add to this scenario that it’s Colorado, it’s 10 degrees or lower and there’s about 8 inches of fresh snow everywhere. The roads are plowed but chunky and icy and it’s really not even fun to drive your car in this weather. And here’s this person, so bundled up that gender is not apparent, helmet, hat, goggles, coveralls – head down, peddling furiously in the best tire track they can find, making their way to work.

I salute you, whoever you are. I also think you’re a bit masochistic and perhaps a borderline maniac – but I salute you anyway because just in that one act, you are doing more than I have done thus far today to help save the planet. To give myself credit, I did drive my Prius to work but honestly, I live close enough to walk if I really want to have zero impact.

The biker got me to thinking - What else could I have done before I walked out the door this morning?

1. Turned down the thermostat – we already keep it pretty low, but yes, I could have turned it down more.

2. I just realized I left the radio on – other than potentially deterring fictional burglars, what’s the good in that?

3. I could get rid of our 2nd fridge in the garage like I have been threatening to do for months now – it’s old, inefficient and very convenient to have over the holidays. But we could get by without it.

4. We have a little pond in our back yard with a waterfall that attracts birds – we have a heater in the water so that it does not freeze over and the birds and other wildlife have access to the water. Totally NOT necessary to their existence or mine. Will I give it up? Nope – not negotiable. It enhances my sanity quotient.

5. We did trade a disposable zip loc bag for a reuseable container to bring stuff to work this morning …… woo hoo!

So, what’s the point of this exercise? For me, it’s not to add to all the “should-haves and ought to’s” that frequently plague each of us to a certain degree. It is an attempt to start from where I am as a consumer and an inhabitant of a very small planet with finite resources and work to live in a higher state of mindfulness and respect for our planet and the other creatures I share it with. Am I the poster child for conservation? Heck no! Not even close! But I am working on it. I’m better at conservation practices than I used to be and I’ll keep getting better every day.

What did you do today to make a difference for the planet?

Linda Helm is VP of Fine Print Imaging and Art for Conservation. She's also a Mom, Grandma, Daughter, Wife and lover of nature. She can make a difference for the planet and for the future of her kids and grandkids by the choices she makes every single day. So can you.

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