Caring for our precious blue globe

Lady Bird Johnson
Green, eco-friendly, environmentally-conscious, eco-fashion. These expressions have all become fashionable buzzwords. I think it’s a good thing. But darlings, I am amazed it has taken so long to get to the point that conservation is fashionable. Shockingly, there are still those who would argue against the changes necessary to clean up our planet. When I hear, arguments against global warming and greenhouse gasses, I am flummoxed. Really, does it matter if we agree on the specifics of scientific reports and projections? Don’t these anti-conservationists worry about fouling the air and water? Is it not obvious that conservation of non-renewable resources is just sensible, and that stopping and reducing pollution is the only sane thing to do? Don’t they prefer to live on clean, green and thriving planet? I find it incomprehensible that anyone who has experienced nature’s beauty would not seek to preserve it. 
 
I am not naïve, I know that money, and greed, business, and ignorance are part of the equation that has often stalemated the bigger solutions to the world’s environmental challenges. There are many ways to solve the world’s problems, but too often all sides have shown an unwillingness to comprise.
 
It is heartening to see more us making real effort at conservation. If we could get everyone to recycle, drive less, use energy-efficient appliances and rain barrels, walk more, choose greener cleaners, and just think more about conserving in small painless ways every day, we would make tremendous progress.
The conservation movement is not new. One of Canada’s most colourful conservationists Archibald Belaney emigrated to Canada in 1888 when he was 17. He worked as a trapper. This led to him becoming immersed in the Indian way of life and an interest in conservation. He assumed the name Grey Owl.  In the 1920s he ceased trapping and became a well-known guide and conservation activist. He helped to set up the Canadian national parks. 
If not for the efforts of early passionate conservationists of late 1800s such as Grey Owl, writer and activist Henry David Thoreau, landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, and Congressman Gregory Perkins Marsh, we might not have the head start on the environmental movement we do day. These early conservationists lobbied for the preservation of our beautiful natural wetlands, forests, and other natural resources.
 
Since then men and women of vision – people who share a deep love and dedication to the planet — have surfaced around the globe to take up this cause. Earth Day, founded about 40 years ago, is now celebrated around the world. It began as an “environmental teach-in”. Now, in many ways, it has turned into a marketing opportunity.
 
This is not necessarily bad. To be successful caretakers for the planet we need good tools. We need viable “green” alternatives because the answer is not for us all to give up our way of life and live in caves with unwashed hair. The more reasonably-priced, truly green products the better.
 
Good conservation is not about deprivation, it is about using our resources wisely and being innovative. We need solutions that work so we don’t need to take three-minute showers and deal with water rationing. But for now, being good conservationists may mean thinking about rain barrels for your lawn and a using a car wash that recycles water. And that is just one example; combining your errands into fewer trips, living closer to work, and many other easy and simple adjustments all help.
 
Lady Bird JohnsonLady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, sponsored a campaign to beautify America’s highways in the 1960s. She worked to have ugly billboards and other eyesores removed. She also instigated an anti-littering campaign with the popular slogan “don’t be a litter bug”. It was very effective, for a while. Sadly, with a all our emphasis on the environment the very simple act of not littering is too much for many. Littering has been on a steady rise round the world. When I was a child, no decent person would litter. It was shameful. Now it seems many don’t have any shame at all.
 
If we truly care about the planet, why not start by adjusting our own habits in small, consistent, but meaningful ways. Let’s try to halt dangerous littering. Ordinary people do it every day in small, damaging increments: a cigarette butt here, a pop can there. It chokes the parks, streets, drains, and waterways. According to experts, it is a major danger to marine life. These same experts said it was amazing the damage that cigarette butts do by their sheer volume.* I was shocked and disgusted.
 
Darlings, I don’t have all the answers. But I know a problem we can all help to solve when I see it. Let’s speak up against littering. Moral suasion is powerful. Let’s get public shame out of mothballs and turn it full blast on litter bugs. After all, the earth is our home; we would not sit idly by if someone dumped cigarette butts and pop cans on our living room rugs, would we? Taking care of the planet is a lot like taking care of yourself. It needs nourishing loving care every day. If we all do just a little bit, we can make our beautiful blue globe shine brightly.
 
 
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