Earth Day was last Monday – so I’ve spent this entire week offering dozens of ways that Change Agents can go beyond impacting their work environments for the better by contributing to protecting the planet’s environment. Each idea we’ve shared is a simple thing that could contribute to a collective improvement in the impact we have on our world.
I encourage you to wander through these tips and pick a few to try.
Before I jump into today’s final list of things Change Agents can do to help their planet, here’s a recap of the week:
Monday: Ten Ways to Save Water
Tuesday: Five Ways to Use Less Electricity
Thursday: Five Transportation Corners You Can Cut
Friday: Five Ideas for Recycling & Reuse
Today, I’ll close this series with a nasty topic; the amount of chemicals we pour into our environment.
Chemicals, Chemical, Chemicals… Yuck! We all enjoy the convenience provided by “a better life through science”. But the downside is a dangerous one. Our society produces a lot of toxic waste and that mess needs to be treated with caution.
I’m neither a medical professional nor a scientist, so I’ll leave the study of the negative impacts of environmental pollution and rampant chemical use to the experts. Either way, I think it’s probably a good idea to keep nasty products far from the water we drink and out of the air we breathe.
Below I offer you a handful of ways we can all contribute to lowering the amount of dangerous toxins that flow into the ecosystem:
2. If You Must…: Consider patronizing “green cleaners” if you absolutely must dry clean items.
3. Clean Up Your Household Cleaners: Consider using natural, non-toxic cleaning products where you can. We use vinegar and water around the house with good results and we use this stuff called ‘Simple Green” to wash outdoor items like patio furniture.
4. Mix It at Home! Check out this great list of homemade cleaning products from Earth Easy that includes basic ingredients like baking soda, alcohol, borax, lemon and corn starch.
5. If It Really Bugs You: This site from PioneerThinking.com has a ton of natural ways to control bothersome garden pests without resorting to dangerous chemicals.
6. Avoid Tossing Electronics into your regular trash. They typically contain mercury, which is a known cause of all sorts of health problems in the general population. Donate them or look for recycle bins at your local electronics retailer or hardware store.
7. Safely Dispose of Florescent Bulbs: The phosphorus and mercury inside some florescent bulbs can be dangerous, so recycle these at your hardware store or city recycling center. In some municipalities, you can actually get in trouble for placing items like this with toxic heavy metals in with your regular trash.
8. Clean Up Your Trash: Instead of dropping wicked chemicals onto your trash, click this link to Earth911 to find where you can drop off toxic stuff in your community. This is the most comprehensive recycle site I’ve seen – it even tells you how to safely dispose of aerosol cans, pesticides, paints and old medications!
There You Have It! During this Earth Day week, I’ve tried to make the point that taking care of the Earth is not just some big idea that’s so huge the average individual cannot have an impact. In fact, a series of small decisions and simple acts repeated by millions of individuals thousands of times can and will make a difference.
Next week, I’ll get back into more standard fare for theBigRocks. (…fun stuff like teamwork, leadership, communication, change agent skills, resistance to change and the like…)
Until then, thanks for reading and keep sending me your ideas for future articles!
Questions for Chatter:
- What can you do if your community doesn’t have a chemical drop-off point?
- Do you have any favorite natural cleaners or simple substitutes for harsh chemicals?