Do you recycle your aluminum cans? Newspapers? Glass? Why do you or don’t you recycle these items? What are the arguments and cited validations.
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Akannan's list is a good one. I would add to that:
-- I could own a car that gets better mileage. Mine doesn't come close to qualifying for the "clunker" program, but when I am financially able I will purchase a greener car. I would love to have an electric car for short-distance commuting.
-- I have been looking into whether the zero carbon footprint stuff really does anything.
-- We are saving to install some solar heating/hot water. Although we don't live in a super sunny place, it would make a difference.
-- I go out of my way to support area wind projects.
-- I have thought about hanging wash on a line in the summer instead of using the dryer. I would have to do some ironing if I did, but it would undoubtedly be a net saving.
-- I have convinced my office (a school) to send more information by email rather than by regular mail. I also get most of my news online, although I worry that real journalism will suffer from declining newspaper revenues.
In terms of ways I try to be more environmentally aware, most of them are very small in nature, but possibly could add up to be significant. This would involve using energy saving light bulbs, using rain barrels to water the lawn, recycling paper, glass, cans, as well as minimizing the use of the car by carpooling, walking, or collapsing several trips into one. We wash clothes in cold water, minimizing use of hot water. Being vegetarian also helps in this mindset, as well. In my classroom, I make sure students are responsible for making sure all faucets are closed shut, blinds and windows closed, with lights off. On a professional note, I am taking more classes online, which apparently saves in both in the travel resources as well as the energy costs of an institution (This last one might be a reach.)
Recycling of things like aluminium cans and PET bottles requires action on large organizational level rather than at individual level.
The action required at individual level to be meaningful need to be perhaps more drastic. For example, instead of using a greener car, cutting down on total use of car. Similarly, not discarding old clothes too early, and buying less new clothes will do much more to control pollution than washing them in cold water.
The pollution levels globally are significantly correlated to the level of affluence. Reducing environmental pollution may require change of mindset of people where the beauty and cleanliness of environment is valued a little more than at present, and material affluence is valued little less than at present.
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