California is nasty.
For those of you who have never been here I will paint you a picture.
Here is a view of the place I live:
The brown air is all pollution. In elementary school we would actually be denied recess because there would be a "stage 1 smog alert." Meaning that the air quality was so bad that it was more harmful for us to go outside than to stay in and miss the exercise. As it stands I am a two pack a day smoker although I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. The air here is so bad that just by breathing in and out I pollute my lungs the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes. When it rains Californians are advised to stay out of the ocean for 72 hours because the rain washes pollution into the ocean in potentially toxic amounts.
What contributes to this awful air quality? Well...
The majority of people who work have to commute. The ridiculous price of housing (another rant altogether) forces a lot of families to drive to higher paying areas.
Yes...superstores like Wal-Mart kill air quality. Not to mention small businesses and the local economy. There are many reasons I won't shop Wal-Mart. The reason that pertains to this topic is that in order to get the products into a Wal-Mart store many many diesel trucks must travel to and from the warehouse to each Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart also increases vehicle traffic. And if you are concerned about America's economy consider that about 70% of Wal-Mart's products are made in China. And it's workers are paid pathetically. While it may be good on our pocketbooks to shop at Wal-Mart, in the long run it is putting many Americans out of work and harming the economy. You can read more here.
Call me a tree-hugger, I take it as a compliment. Trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are our natural air purifiers. Cutting down trees is like taking away our air. Which brings me to my next point:
This is a topic I could really go on about. Instead of telling you why recycling is important I am going to give you tips on how to re-use and reduce your waste:
-Buy re-usable grocery bags. Then use them. Some stores offer incentives for bringing your own bags. Trader Joe's holds a monthly raffles for it's earth friendly customers.
-Stop using plastic bottles. They contain chemicals that can leach into your drinking water and they stay in a landfill for 70 years. Buy yourself a Klean Kanteen and re-use it. They are re-usable, recyclable, and BPA free.
-Use cloth diapers. They are a huge money saver and not as difficult to use as your grandma might lead you to believe. Nowadays you don't have to mess with pins and leaks are pretty minimal. Disposable diapers are a huge landfill burden and contain chemicals you may not be aware of. Xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene, and isopropylbenzene are just a few that have been found. Some have been linked to asthma and other health problems. They are also scented, which is another irritant.
Buy organic. Preferably locally. Less pesticides=less pollution. Less time food has to travel to store=less pollution. This is goes for both produce and meat.
Don't support factory farms. I am not saying you have to go 100% vegetarian but I highly recommend that you watch this video to get an idea of how factory farms work. I also want you to watch The True Cost of Food so that you can see how buying meat and produce from Super Centers and non-local farmers affects everything from the economy to the environment and our very health. If you do chose to eat meat make sure your cows are grass fed.
If you don't need a Hummer, don't buy a Hummer! I am just ashamed that car companies produced the electric car several years ago then pulled it and started mass-manufacturing SUVS and Hummers. I'm not only ashamed, I am pissed. By now there should be electric cars everywhere on the road. Who killed the Electric Car? Check this out:
Clean up after your pets. I don't like dog poo in my drinking water supply. Please be responsible. Also, properly dispose of oils, paints, and other hazardous household products. My tap water is cloudy with floaties when it first comes out of the faucet. I am thankful for my Brita filter but I know I am still ingesting chemicals that are harmful.
Stop using commercial laundry detergents. Ever notice they don't list their ingredients? It's because they are full of chemicals. You really do not need all those suds and bubbles to get clean clothes. You are probably doing yourself more harm than good plus the plastic bottles that the detergents and fabric softeners come in go into landfills. Instead of Tide and Downy try Charlie's Soap or Maggie's Soap Nuts. I have used both and I think they are both excellent products. Plus the people I have spoken to at both companies are so nice!
I hope I have provided you with some good information. I am not trying to guilt anyone into my suggestions or to criticize anyone who shops at Wal-Mart or drives an SUV. My intention is to provide you with some good information that will help you impact your health and the health of others around you for generations to come.
Thanks for reading. I know this was a long one.
Monday, August 25, 2008
California is nasty.