Well, here we are in a new year and also, a new decade. Hopefully, some New Year’s resolutions remain intact, like quitting smoking, losing weight, improving personal finance management, and living a healthier lifestyle. But there are other equally important universal issues to consider for this new decade, such as, improving the way we treat the environment of our common house—the beautiful blue Planet Earth.
We cannot expect that "something" or "someone" will come to fix the enormous variety of problems we face, such as more frequent floods and droughts, as well as unusual snow falls and deadly heat waves. Although there are still some who argue that global warming is natural and not caused by man, it is very dangerous to ignore the reports of prestigious scientists and renowned institutions that show that man has almost singularly impacted the environment negatively.
At Decisive Latino, we’d like to share some simple green ABC’s to help improve the environment and lower our carbon footprints. This doesn’t mean converting our homes to solar energy, although for those who can afford it, please do, but there are simple measures that if done en masse, can improve our environmental quality of life.
Act, do not merely bear witnesses. Write to your congressmen, news media, or start a blog to encourage green legislation and policies or to denounce actions harmful to the environment within your community Lobby for curbisde recycling in your community and office recycling at your job. Join or contribute to organizations that fight for a better planet and a cleaner, more sustainable world. (See our list of Latino environmental organizations).
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Be aware of new and environmentally friendly technologies that we can apply in daily life. Even small actions can motivate many to change their activities in a positive way.
In June 2010, I pioneered the use of the iPad replacing printed scripts in my dubbing studio in Los Angeles. Now, many recording studios in the U.S. and other countries are doing the same, thus avoiding a huge waste of paper and ink.
Communicate and share the positive ideas and actions that individuals or groups are utilizing for the environment. This exchange is necessary to encourage many more to act in defense of our communities. Together we can do a lot. But do not forget that the power of one is the engine that generates actions.
Diesel is friendlier than gasoline because it requires less refining and is more fuel-efficient. New technologies make diesel burn cleaner than before. At Decisive Media, we chose the Volkswagen Jetta TDI as the 2010 Urban Green Car of the Year. Of course, this is not the perfect solution to our ecological nightmares, but the use of diesel-powered vehicles could help to avoid more air pollution while the hybrid and electric cars become less costly for general consumption. For those who wish to go boldly where no one has gone before, the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius Hybrid Plug-in may be worth considering.
Economize the use of energy. Switch to energy-saving bulbs that will help to lower millions of tons of global warming pollutants. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every household in the US replaced just three 60-watt incandescent bulbs with efficient bulbs, the pollution savings would be like taking 3.5 million cars off the road! This is a simple and wise action that represents a major difference. Plus, the use of these wonderful lights helps prevent mercury from being released into the air from coal-powered power plants. However, it’s important to note that they must be recycled, most Home Depots will take them, and not thrown in the trash to prevent trace amounts of mercury being released if broken.
Forgo plastic whenever possible. Take reusable bags to the grocery story (many sell their own) and recycle plastic bags if you do use them. Even plastic containers should be replaced considering the research that shows that when heated, these containers leach chemicals into your food. According to the Environmental Literacy Council, plastics account for 25 percent of all waste in landfills when buried. However not all plastics are buried, many end up polluting the environment and harming wildlife. Incredibly, one of the greatest concentrations of plastic trash is a Texas-sized floating island of plastic debris in the north Pacific.
Friendly attitudes toward the environment are a must if we want to continue living on Gaia, our Mother Earth. We are in a race against time, and this is not an apocalyptical cliché. As we look upon this New Year with a renewed, fresh perspective, we hope you will re-evaluate and consider even more sustainable alternatives. Over the next days, even little changes will add up to make a big difference. Let’s ask ourselves, what are the consequences of the choices that we make? Will this choice help ensure the protection of our world?
Latino Environmental Groups
San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement and Policy (SJV LEAP)
1515 E. Divisadero, Ste. 108A
Fresno, CA 93721
National Hispanic Environmental Council
106 N. Fayette Street
Alexandria, VA, 22314
Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice
804 Park Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER)
P.O. Box 6237,
Austin, TX 78762-6237
Green Worker Cooperatives
461 Timpson Place
The Bronx, NY 10455
(718) 617 7807
Environmental Coalition of Miami and the Beaches
210 Second St.
Miami Beach, Florida 33139