A Simple Solution

Do you love clean air? Are you curious? Do you live in a city? What does your city need to do to improve it’s quality of life? This is simplistic, but it is something I believe in, and I loved this solution for the problems of urban living. City living can become safer and healthier if we would all walk more.

Urban living is safer and healthier when we walk more!

When is the last time you walked to the store, a coffee shop, or a park near you? How about walking to a meeting the library, or to a friend’s house?  Do you need more exercise and more time outside?

walk walk walk

This ancient solution, walking, has solved the problems of cities for thousands of years. Urban life can become much better if people get out and walk more. I think communities would be safer and healthier! A recent study from Wisconsin shows walking more can be the critical difference leading to mental, physical and community health.  One Centuries-Old Trick Can Solve Your City’s Problems | streets.mn  

As a person who walks to almost everything I do, I am passionate about safe walking, and hope you will become a walker too. Start by walking to your nearest park as often as you can. Next, choose something close by, and make a habit to walk instead of driving. Leave your phone and music at home or in your pocket, pay attention, and discover something that you hadn’t seen before. What do you see? You will like it and feel better too.

Urban planners need to do better to make cities walkable. Sidewalks need to be free of holes and bumps. Some streets need to be designated for walkers, and an extra effort needs to be made so street crossing  is safe. Law enforcement needs to enforce the laws to keep all pedestrians safe, and all drivers need to be alert and stop for stop signs.  One urban planner I talked to wanted to take out stop signs, another is obsessed with putting bikes on the sidewalk. We must do better! 

Pay attention to pedestrians

One Centuries-Old Trick Can Solve Your City’s Problems | streets.mn  

Twin Cities get serious about crosswalk etiquette – StarTribune.com  

Paris, Barcelona and Vienna are implementing policies to discourage car traffic and favor pedestrians and cyclists. The French capital aims to ensure residents have all necessary services within 15 minutes by foot, bike or public transit. Barcelona is restricting traffic to major roads, while Austria this year is rolling out nationwide access to public transport for a flat annual fee of 3 euros ($3.60) a day.  Read more: A 15-Minute City Without Cars or Commutes Emerges as New Utopia

“Today, we are able to breathe again”

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother

“More than four in ten Americans breathe unhealthy air, with a disportionate impact on people of color” Paul Douglas

Last year on Earth Day I wrote how happy I was that because so many were staying home during the pandemic our air was cleaner. I loved it! This year we have moved to backward mode. Again exhaust fills our air. Many have breathing issues and dirty air makes their health difficult. What can we do different as we recover from the Covid pandemic and the murder of George Floyd? Let’s work so we all experience healthy breaths of air.

I am a firm believer that awareness helps people to take responsibility to do better. That is what this blog is about. So what bugs me, and what can we all do better? We need to have a better awareness of how we pollute the air what black and brown people experience just a few blocks away.

Many idle their cars in on my street in South Minneapolis as they read and talk on their cell phones. They sit in parking lots with their engines running, polluting everyone’s air. I don’t get it? Turn off your engine, save gas, and make the air cleaner for all!

Another rage is yard pit fires, Yuck, they pollute our air!

Million of tons of plastic end up in our landfills and oceans. Have you thought of how the production of plastic harms our air? Chemical plants making plastic are enormous contributors to air pollution, and often they spew chemicals polluting poorer communities. Also, some cities have garbage burners burning plastic polluting neighborhoods of people without power and without a voice. Plastic pollution is a social justice issue. Maybe if we think of plastic pollution/air pollution when we purchase plastic items we can say, “No plastic!”

See the story of plastic: The Story of Plastic (animated short) – Story of Stuff

This year for Earth Day, think of ways you might be causing air pollution: Turn off your car engine, drive less, limit yard fires, and say “No!” to single-use plastic.

We can create sustainable communities where we can breathe and live healthy lives. Let’s come together, become more aware, and work for cleaner air for all!

Reading and watching list

Pandemic pollution: Disposable masks, gloves are saving lives but ruining the environment | PBS NewsHour

Watch Story of the Bottle! – Greenpeace

Causes and Effects of Air Pollution | Go Green Academy

Air Pollution | CDC

Celebrate Trees

Trees clean our water and our air!

The power of trees is enormous. They add beauty and quiet to our lives. Trees work to keep our air and water clean, and they keep us healthy and happy.  Be mindful of the trees in your life! Trees create that sense of belonging and community, see the video below.

“Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen. Planting trees helps fight climate change.” Arborday.org

 

Aug 1, Overshoot Day

August !, is Overshoot Day #movethedate

What is Overshoot Day? It is the day the people on earth start using more resources than the Earth can renew. In other words the last five months of the year we are living on borrowed time using more resources than the Earth can regenerate. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. To stay even we would need 1.7 earths to live on.  All countries are not equal in the amount of the earth’s resources they use. The United States is not great, using the most resources. The USA  would need 5 Earths to supply their needs, Australia would need 4 Earths to meet their needs, China would need 3 Earths, and India and many other countries helps balance it out and only would need 7/10th of an Earth to meet their resource needs.  Read more here.

We use the resources of 1.7 Earths.
We use more resources and services than nature can regenerate.

What about the future? I wish it were easier to solve this problem.  We consume too much and waste even more.  Everyday we need to think how important clean water and clean air are to our survival. Start by cutting  food waste, use fewer chemicals, strive for zero waste and quality when we make purchases, and of course, drive less. If everyone does a small amount, it can add up to a lot!

The Global Footprint Network has listed the four following solution areas to address ecological overshoot:

  • Cities: If we reduce driving by 50 percent around the world and replace one-third of car miles with public transportation and the rest by walking and biking, we can #MoveTheDate of Overshoot Day back 12 days.
  • Energy: Reducing the carbon component of humanity’s Ecological Footprint by 50 percent would #MoveTheDate 93 days.
  • Food: If everyone in the world cut food waste in half, reduced the Footprint intensity of their diets, and consumed world-average calories, we would #MoveTheDate 38 days.
  • Population: If every other family in the world had one less child, we would move Overshoot Day 30 days by 2050.

What are you doing to reduce your global footprint? Today as I was grocery shopping, refilling my containers, striving for zero waste, and being plastic-free.  What good ideas do you have?

 

What Unites Us?

“I see it as a hopeful sign that this eclipse captured the nation’s attention. For all that divides us, we are passengers on a global journey – together.” Dan Rather

As I attend reunions and talk with people who I see every few years, I think about what we have in common? What do we have to talk about in this politically charged climate? This morning I was struck by a moderate journalist, a meteorologist, talking about what we can all agree on? His thought was that clean energy, less pollution, cleaner water, and good paying jobs were things we could unite behind.  These are some of the top issues on this blog and things I am passionate about.  It would be a dream come true if we could agree on solutions for water and air pollution.

Front CoverDan Rather has written a new book on the same topic, “What Unites Us?”  He focuses more on our patriotism. Read about it here.

What do you think? What are issues we can rally around and find some common ground solutions?  Are clean water and clean air something for which we can find sustainable solutions?  What do you think can unite us?

Voters for Dirty Air And Water?

Do we want lakes that look like this?
Do we want lakes that look like this?

Did voters on November 8, vote for dirty water and dirty air?  I know one Trump voter who is totally against the Dakota Access Pipeline. I can’t believe that November’s vote was to trash our water and air! Please call your senators.

No matter where you live, call your senator and tell them to oppose Scott Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA Administrator: (202) 224-3121
You can use this tool to quickly find your senator and click to call them: http://on.nrdc.org/2kkFfOL

Below is from the NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council:

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is the worst, most extreme nominee ever tapped to lead the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. We must stop him! As Oklahoma Attorney General, he has sued the EPA 18 times to fight clean air and water rules. Seventeen of these 18 he joined with fossil fuel companies in suing the EPA. Pruitt has gone to court to fight rules that would save up to 45,000 lives, and avoid hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and heart attacks every year.. More than 1 in 10 children in Oklahoma have asthma, which is one of highest rates of asthma in United States.

He routinely allies with big polluters to promote prioritize their profits over the health and safety of ordinary people. How could he possibly be qualified to protect our air and water?

Bottom line: he is unfit to serve as the nation’s top environmental steward. We only need 3 senators to swing their votes the right way to stop him! CALL RIGHT NOW.

No matter where you live, call your senator and tell them to oppose Scott Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA Administrator: (202) 224-3121
You can use this tool to quickly find your senator and click to call them: http://on.nrdc.org/2kkFfOL

And if you live in one of the following states, it is particularly important to call these senators:
Sen. Joe Donnelly (Indiana) 202-224-4814                             wp-image-1471591845jpeg.jpeg
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) 202-224-2043
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) 202-224-2523
Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada) 202- 224-6244
Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona) (202) 224-4521
Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) (202) 224-3353
Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) (202) 224-4944
Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) (202) 224-3954

 

Do You Care About Clean Water, Clean Air?

What can you do?
What can you do?

The environment is where we all meet; where we have a mutual interest; it is the one thing we share.” Lady Bird Johnson

One presidential candidate has promised that he will eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if he wins, which means we can kiss the best, most important parts of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act goodbye, along with almost every other federal clean air and water safeguard.

And if you want even more evidence that this candidates extremism will mean havoc for our nation and our planet, look no further than his stance on the climate crisis: he has called it a hoax created “by and for the Chinese.” Read the entire article here.

And a voter’s guide to candidates.

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A Good Reason to Be Conservative

11703236_908335322566446_6098173936904503204_oIf everyone did just a bit, it could add up to a “whole lot!” Health4earth

My series, 31 Days of Less Waste continues:

Day 3 of 31 days of less waste. and another day of solidarity with the Paris Climate Summit.  Change and saving our planet starts with all of us! Today’s post is on driving conservatively.  Don’t waste gas, become an ECO driver!

What can we all do to reduce the emissions we put in the air we breathe?

  1. Drive less: I am fortunate to have good bus service, and can walk to shopping and many of my activities.  Our car often stays in the garage for weeks at a time. We even hauled our Thanksgiving turkey home on the bus!

2.  Car pool: Most cars have only one person. Not only is this boring, but it is   wasteful! You can change this. Make travel fun, offer rides to co-workers, classmates, and  others going to your events. Even one-day a week would make a difference!

3. Become an ECO driver:  Drive the speed limit and accelerate gently.

4. Maintain your car: Keep tires inflated, filters replaced, and make sure your automobile/truck aren’t emitting excess pollution.

http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/new-drivers-adopt-eco-friendly-habits/