Do something good for the Earth

Opinion

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I would like to thank the individuals in my community who took a first step toward "Greening the Village" by discontinuing the use of leaf-blowers. If you haven't taken the first step yet, then consider other ways you can save the planet. My mother has a saying that she uses when I take too long to play a hand of Bridge. She says, "Do something, even if it's wrong." This is a case of "Do something, even if it's right." It is time to take a second step. The second step can be one of your own choosing.

The smog-producing emissions from lawn equipment are 5-10 percent of all the emissions produced by the United States. The leaf-blower creates the worst emissions. That is why I asked for the first step to be the cessation of leaf-blowing. There are individuals in Oak Park and River Forest who are making a difference. Some community members use battery-powered, electric, or hand-mowers. Some lawns are reverting to prairie.

Lawn care is destructive in ways beyond smog-producing emissions. Herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers contribute directly to an area called the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The Dead Zone is the size of New Jersey. It is called the Dead Zone because nothing lives in that water. Here are a couple of ideas that could bring that area back to life: if you don't want to pull the weeds in your lawn by hand (my method), you can use my friend's preferred method?#34;corn gluten?#34;and coffee grounds are a great way to fertilize.

The United States has 1/20th of the human population on the planet Earth. We consume 1/4th of the Earth's resources. During that consumption, we produce pollution and greenhouse gases. Global warming is happening. We can be a community that contributes to the problem or helps to solve it. Some community members are choosing methods of transportation that include biking, walking, and jogging. Let's honor them by giving them the right-of-way because they are out there reducing the emissions that are generated by our country.

There are other ways to save our planet. I have a friend who is a vegetarian. He chose to become a vegetarian when he was four years old. This decision affected his entire family. Because of his decision, three other members of his family seldom eat meat. The resources that he saved and emissions he reduced as a result of his decision were huge. Ninety percent of the corn produced in the United States feeds livestock. That corn is grown on large areas of land. That farmland is treated with herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. The corn has to be transported. If the corn is going to cattle, the cattle have to be raised on more land. Eventually the livestock has to be transported. You can see how one child's decision to become a vegetarian made a world of difference. If each of us decided to be vegetarian for one day a week, we could help make a difference.

If you took the first step toward greening the village, thank you. If you have not taken a step yet then consider some of what I mentioned and take two steps. There were many steps that got us to this place, and it will take at least a few to remove some of the destruction.

Do something, even if it's right.

Ginger Vanderveer
Oak Park

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