You Kiss Your Mother Earth With That Mouth?
On the day of my college graduation, our commencement speaker (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a.k.a. Elaine from Seinfeld) spoke at length about doing good. She wasn’t referring to achieving success in our careers or personal endeavors. Rather, she meant it in regards to living in such a manner that benefits our world and makes it a better place to live in.It seemed like a rather trite message at the time, and I don’t recall much of it, but I do remember her throwing out a statistic that got me thinking. Touching upon her involvement in various environmental issues, she presented each member of our graduating class with a compact fluorescent bulb (there was nothing under my seat, though I’m still waiting, Elaine). With this simple gift, she urged us to consider the following fact: if each of those thousand-or-so bulbs were used in place of an incandescent bulb, enough energy would be saved to power the entire state of Delaware. As unremarkable as the state of Delaware seemed to me, a tiny light slowly flickered on in the back of my head- no pun intended.
…Ahhh, I see.
Maybe its just me, but I often find it incredibly hard to pull myself out of a mindset or habit that Ive grown so accustomed to over the course of several years. As a result of this, it seems only logical that Id resign myself to thinking that there isn’t a whole lot I myself can do to influence any number of issues that affect us all on a worldwide scale.Sure, maybe I could drive my car less, but what about pollution on a national level? Or maybe I could recycle some of my paper products, but what about citywide littering issues? And GLOBAL warming? I might as well be throwing ice cubes into the ocean if I think I can help solve that one.But something in that speech sticks with me, even today, and a cursory glance at some relevant statistics can be a bit enlightening. For example:
- By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours
- By recycling one aluminum can, you can run a TV for six hours on the electricity saved
- The average American uses 167 disposable water bottles, and only recycles 38. Hence, 129 bottles from ending up in landfills a year per person
In breaking down the large-scale statistics that were so accustomed to seeing, data like the bullet points above seem to make the betterment of this world so much more attainable- we can significantly curb the amount of pollution in the air, we can slow down the process of global warming essentially, we can make a difference.
The change, however, starts at the individual level- I can make a difference. As more and more people begin to better realize and understand this, then maybe this world can gradually become one that’s more enjoyable for all of us to live in well, at least until Skynet becomes self-aware in the next few years or so.