Friday, April 17, 2015

To The Citizens of the United States of America (Part 3):

(This is a research paper I wrote for a class at BVU, just my thoughts, sorry if the citations are written incorrectly, but I'm a music major, not an English major. Enjoy the information for what it represents.)
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I promised I would also provide ideas on what we, as both individuals and a community can do to help reduce waste, and take a stand to stop global warming.

My favorite is to help our neighbors and ourselves. Many families like to have garage sales, but instead of a garage sale, set up trading communities where you take your gently used items that you have outgrown and trade them for items someone else has outgrown. These are very popular, especially when you target families who are less fortunate. I have organized a clothing swap where families were encouraged to bring their gently used clothes of any size and able to do “shopping” for “new-to-you” clothing for their family. There was no charge for the event and any items left over at the end were given away (toddler clothes went to the local preschool, adult clothes to Goodwill, baby blankets to mission groups, etc.).

This doesn't have to simply be done with clothing. Like music? Set up a music swap where you bring in CDs that you no longer want. Sporting equipment not being used? Take it to your next practice. Tired of the same movie or book? There are so many different ways to share our resources with each other!

Another idea is to get rid of the garbage truck. Instead of making it so convenient for people to throw their trash away, make it more convenient for them to dispose of their recyclable products! Where I live, all I have is trash service. If I want to dispose of my recycling, I have to bag it up and drive to the nearest recycling place and sort it myself. This is not something I have time for so everything makes it into the trash, where it goes to the landfill. Recyclables can then be sold by the community to help off-set the cost of the additional labor. The additional labor means lower unemployment rates and potentially less people living in poverty.

For the real “garbage” make it a pay-as-you-throw system, so much per bag. People will be more willing to recycle (or even turn leftover waste into compost for their garden) if it costs more to throw your garbage away.

Speaking of compost, are you looking for fresh local fruits and vegetables? Start a community garden! Every town should have their own acre of land in an easily-accessible location where everyone is able to come, plant seeds, help with the care of the garden, and harvest what they will use.

After harvest, incorporate a time where the community hosts a “canning party”. Many people want to can their vegetables that they have grown but sometimes the job can be too taxing for one person to do on their own. Why not have people bring their crops in, combine them, and work together to do the canning, everyone taking home a share of their labor and maybe even making a donation to the local food pantry!

As always, many ways to conserve energy and resources start at home. Make sure unused lights are shut off when you leave a room. Unplug electronics that aren't being used. Switch your light bulbs from incandescent to compact florescent light bulbs. If you can afford it, LED bulbs last 100 times longer than incandescent bulbs and provide more light for less power (homedepot.com). Programmable thermostats allow you to keep your house warm or cooler based on your family’s schedule. Take advantage of energy audits if they are offered by your electric company.

Another thing to take advantage of through your electric company would be energy rebates. Check with your provider to see what they offer if you upgrade your less efficient furnace for a better one. Do they have something for people who move from window air units to a central air system? While these items still use electricity, their efficiency is better meaning less carbon dioxide emissions from your home!

These are just a few suggestions as to what we could do to help our nation grow stronger and help fight global warming. There are so many different thoughts and ideas. It only takes one small sound to start an avalanche. See what you can do within your home and community to make this happen!