Give a hoot, don’t pollute


I made this up: On the twelfth day of April while walking I did see a dozen blowing styrofoam packing nuts, eleven cigarette butts, ten pieces of glass from a broken car mirror, nine red foam decorative holiday berries, a set of eight car house and garage keys, seven Caribou and Starbucks beverage cups, six fast food containers, five candy wrappers, four smashed water bottles, three piles of dog excrement, two plastic bottle caps, and a dirty diaper near a boulevard tree.

The most egregious of the above are plastics and styrofoam that take years to biodegrade and harm wildlife and the water supply. Love your walks. Love your neighborhood. Love the natural world that hosts us for a short time and trusts us to care for it for the next generation.

There is more you can do: Burn fat, not oil. Leave the car at home. Buy in bulk. Refuse plastic containers and bags. Avoid convenience items and one-serving items. Push lawn mowers rather than noisy gas-emitting machine mowers. Shovel. That’s right. Shovel and ditch the noisy polluting snowblowers. Get out of the house. Know your neighbors. Make it a party. Commit to stop using pesticides to kill weeds. Small children wild animals and your pets cannot read the lawn signs that say “Caution, keep pets and children off lawn until (pesticide) is dry.” Live with weeds or plant gardens. Grow your own vegetables. Adopt Victory Neighborhood’s Tiny Gardens way of planting boulevards; grow you own (inside and out, year-round). Eat a Mediterranean diet, or better yet go vegan. Not eating meat has a bigger effect on carbon than buying an electric car (and you live longer avoiding Alzheimers). I could go on.

I am not making this up: Ninety-five percent of the world’s scientists acknowledge the impact of human activity on the changing climate and extreme weather. The military plans for it and the repercussions for national security — with nations fighting for limited resources.

The time is now, and student protesters worldwide demand that the ruling generation do something in the next 20 years. The Greenhouse effect was acknowledged over 30 years ago and in 1979 there was total consensus in the U.S. on taking action. There were 32 climate action bills in 1988. What happened? The gas and oil lobby launched a robust campaign to cast doubt and create disagreement in their own financial interests. Now it is a partisan issue, but locally we can do our best and take action.

Remember, think globally, act locally; give a hoot, don’t pollute.

Barbara Bach,