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Love Your Mother Earth

Mother EarthThe Earth provides us with all we need to exist and asks for nothing in return. We have taken advantage of this and exploited her for profit. The abuse and destruction of the earth has increased to the point where we have not only poisoned the earth and it’s creatures, but also ourselves. We are all part of the environment and what we do to the environment, we also do to ourselves, as well as to our future generations. You can take steps in your everyday life to ensure the survival of our living planet.

Date: 05/03/05
Source: www.greenpeace.org - www.worldwildlife.org 

The United States, as one of the world’s largest consumers and waste producers, plays a major role in the degradation of the earth. We must ALL be part of the solution. Air pollution In 1990, American industry emitted more than 2.4 billion pounds of toxic pollutants into the atmosphere.

In 1991, 98 areas exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended levels for ozone, and an estimated 140 million Americans lived in those areas. Also in 1991, 76 areas exceeded recommended levels for carbon monoxide, 70 did so for particulate matter, and 50 did so for sulfur dioxide. Such air pollution levels have been associated with increased respiratory health problems among people living in the affected areas. According to the Healthy People 2000 report, each year in the United States --

• The health costs of human exposure to outdoor air pollutants range from $40 to $50 billion.

• An estimated 50,000 to 120,000 premature deaths are associated with exposure to air pollutants.

• People with asthma experience more than 100 million days of restricted activity, costs for asthma exceed $4 billion, and about 4,000 people die of asthma.

The detrimental effects of air pollution on health have been recognized for most of the last century. Effective legislation has led to a change in the nature of the air pollutants in outdoor air in developed countries, while combustion of raw fuels in the indoor environment remains a major health hazard in developing countries. The mechanisms of how these pollutants exert their effects are likely to be different, but there is emerging evidence that the toxic effects of new photochemical pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide are likely to be related to infection.

You can take steps in your everyday life to ensure the survival of our living planet.

Stopping Global Warming As pollution increases, so does the world's average temperature. Global warming forces rapid changes in human and animal habitats. Life becomes more difficult, many species will not survive. Human industries and activities produce the world's air pollution, most of it carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases that result in global warming. The U.S. releases approximately 40,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per person each year. What You Can Do You can help stop global warming by taking these 10 steps to cut your yearly emissions of carbon dioxide by thousands of pounds.

1. Next time, buy a car that gets at least 30 miles per gallon (reduces carbon dioxide 2,500 pounds a year over a car that gets 10 mpg less.).

2. Where you can, choose an electric utility company that does not produce power from polluting sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear fission. (Enormous potential reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.)

3. Replace standard light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescents. (Reduces emissions by 500 pounds per year light bulb.)

4. Replace worn-out home appliances with energy efficient models. (Reduces emissions by up to 3,000 pounds per year.)

5. Choose the best energy-saving models when you replace windows. (Reduces emissions up to 10,000 pounds per year.)

6. Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket. (Reduces emissions up to 1,000 pounds per year.)

7. Install low-flow showerheads that use less water. (Reduces emissions up to 300 pounds per year.)

8. Ask your utility company for a home energy audit to pinpoint the biggest energy-wasters. (Potential reduction of thousands of pounds per year.)

9. Whenever possible, walk, bike, carpool or use mass transit. (Reduces emissions by 20 pounds for every gallon of gasoline used.)

10. Insulate walls and ceilings and save about 25% of home heating bills. (And reduce emissions by up to 2,000 pounds per year.)

Additional Resources
Energy Star Website: http://www.energystar.gov  - Energy Star products use less energy than other products, save you money on utility bills, and help protect the environment.

www.worldwildlife.org  Climate Change site provides more information, breaking news, and online actions.

Deforestation
Forests are essential to the web of life: they are home to millions of species, protect soil from erosion, produce oxygen, store carbon dioxide, and help regulate climate. Forests are also essential to human beings: they provide us with food, fuel, shelter, medicines, and a variety of wood products. They also purify our air and water and provide us with places of recreation and renewal. With irresponsible forest practices, many of these functions are severely debilitated.

Almost half of the planet's original forests have disappeared. Of what remains, only about 10 percent are protected. In the minute it has taken you to read this page, some 64 acres (that's roughly the size of 60 football fields) of forest have been lost. Threats such as illegal or irresponsible logging, land clearance for agriculture and development, and fires destroy these ecosystems at astounding rates.

While WWF employs a multi-faceted approach to protect, manage, and restore the world's forests, certification is one process that may help mitigate these affects. However, for this system to be effective, forest managers, logging companies, manufacturers, retailers, and builders must adopt practices that maintain or restore the health and integrity of forest ecosystems. About 2.3 million square miles of forest are harvested annually to supply global consumption. And this is where you come in. As a consumer of forest products - things like paper, furniture, and cosmetics - your purchasing decisions have an important impact on forests.

The companies that produce and sell forest products depend on your dollars, so they will listen to your opinions and react to your behavior. What You Can Do

• Purchase conscientiously. Look for wood and paper products displaying the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label. The FSC label guarantees that your chair, plywood, snowboard, guitar, or hairbrush is made from wood harvested to rigorous environmental standards, and your purchase supports responsible forest management. You can find these products on the Web at www.certifiedwood.org. Ask for FSC certified products at The Home Depot, The Body Shop, and from your housing contractor or architect.

• Encourage suppliers. If you cannot find the FSC logo on the products, ask the shop to stock them. The more customers request for products from well-managed forests, the greater the incentive for forest owners and retailers to provide them.

• Specify FSC. If you work in a company, organization or statutory body encourage them to request FSC-endorsed sources every time they make a purchase.

• Provide information. If there are no suppliers near you, provide local stores with information about FSC, and send them the list of certified forests, or other certified suppliers. More details can also be obtained from FSC accredited certification bodies.

• Get involved. If you would like to get involved with a local group, get in touch with a national FSC contact person. If there is no local group and you are interested in setting one up, read the FSC Guidelines for developing Regional Certification Standards and the FSC Protocol for Endorsing National Initiatives.

• Join World Wildlife Fund’s Conservation Action Network and help us reach out to lawmakers, corporations, and other institutions that influence forest management.

• Learn more by visiting WWF's Forest Conseration Web site. www.worldwildlife.org Overfishing The world's fish are the victims of their own popularity. As more people make nutritious and delicious seafood an integral part of their diets, much of the world's stocks are being depleted at alarming rates due to overfishing and harvesting practices that damage the environment.

The United Nations estimates that at least 60 percent of the world's most valuable marine life is either overfished or fished to the limit. Worldwide demand for fish is projected to rise 40 percent in the next few years, making action to reverse the current crisis even more urgent. So, it is the challenge for all of us -- conservation organizations and consumers, chefs and supermarkets - to help keep America's favorite seafood plentiful for future generations and to preserve our oceans. Facing the challenge are organizations like Whole Foods, Inc. and the Chefs Collaborative, who are working with WWF to form coalitions and launch educational campaigns to protect oceans from unnecessary destruction. In the past, groups have pushed for boycotts of certain fish. Now many are supporting fisheries where threatened fish are allowed to reach healthy levels and seafood is caught in eco-friendly ways. An independent label, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) stamp-of-approval, helps Americans make environmentally responsible seafood choices. Using purchasing power to encourage improved management of our ocean resources, consumers can now look for the MSC label on seafood products like wild Alaska salmon and Western Australia rock lobster.

"I don't think very many chefs at all are aware of how dangerous a situation this is," says Rick Bayliss, chef at Chicago's Frontera Grill. "So they call up their local fish distributor and order whatever sells, not even giving a thought to the environment." What You Can Do Purchase conscientiously. Look for products displaying the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and make smart decisions when ordering seafood. The Right Fish to Eat

• Halibut - Alaska/Canada

• Striped Bass - Atlantic

• Squid - Pacific "market"

• Albacore - Pacific

• Mahi-mahi

• Lobster - Australian rock lobster

• Shellfish; mussels, clams, oysters - farmed (various sources), cockles (Burry Inlet, U.K.)

• Dungeness crab

• Caviar - farmed U.S.

• Salmon - wild Alaskan Keeping toxic chemicals away from wildlife and your family

You do a lot to keep you family healthy, but you may not have considered all the potential dangers of toxic chemicals in your surroundings. Toxic chemicals can be found in virtually all creatures and in all environments. Enormous quantities are released every day and once in the environment, many toxic chemicals can travel great distances, persist for years, and grow more concentrated in living things as they move through the food web.

An estimated 1,000 new chemicals enter the market every year, in addition to the tens of thousands of chemicals already in commercial use. Very few of these have been tested adequately for the threats they may pose to wildlife and humans. There is growing evidence that many of these chemicals can alter sexual and neurological development, impair reproduction, cause cancers, and undermine immune systems.

WWF has created a list of actions you and your family can take to reduce your consumption and use of toxic chemicals at home and in your community:

1. Buy organic cotton clothing, fruits and vegetables, and other goods.

2. Wash and peel fruits and vegetables whenever possible.

3. Stop using pesticides. Green up your yard using natural methods:

- Use traps and biological controls such as parasites and natural predators.

- Use disease and pest-resistant plants. Include in your garden plants that repel insects such as basil, chives, mint, marigolds, and chrysanthemums.

- Use compost and mulch to improve soil health and reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers.

4. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products in your home:

- Don't buy or use chlorine bleach.

- Use simple and inexpensive cleansers such as soap, vinegar, lemon juice, and borax (see World Wildlife Fund's Household Recipes below).

- Avoid air fresheners and other perfumed products: Freshen your air by opening windows or using baking soda, cedar blocks, or dried flowers.

5. Urge your schools and communities to use non-toxic cleaning products and to stop using pesticides.

Join with World Wildlife Fund to ensure that our children will know animals like rhinos and tigers as more than zoo attractions. Below are ways that you can use your power as a consumer to protect endangered species around the world. What You Can Do Say "No" to Bad Souvenirs Some souvenirs could end up costing a lot more than you paid for them. Think twice before you buy any products made from any endangered species, including animal hides and body parts, tortoise-shell, ivory, or coral - they could be illegal. Supporting this damaging trade doesn't just add to the pressure on endangered species, you could also risk having your goods seized when you get home.

Use the following web resources for information that can help you say "no" to illegal wildlife products: World Wildlife Fund’s Buyer Beware Section (www.worldwildlife.org) provides you with more information on some of the products you purchase which may support illegal wildlife trade. Information from World Wildlife Fund’s section on Wildlife Trade (www.worldwildlife.org) details the effects of the illegal wildlife trade, and includes a listing of products that are banned for international trade.

Reduce
Really, the best thing that we can do for the planet is to use less of it. At the heart of the environmental crisis is our consumer society.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself before you buy:

Do I, or the other person I am buying this for, really need this?

Is there another product which would do the same thing but more sustainably?

Will this last a long time?

Do I know how this item was made, how it will be used and how it will be disposed of? Where was this made and under what circumstances?

Are the materials used to make this renewable and have they been harvested in a sustainable manner?

Reuse
Regrettably, because we live in a “disposable society,” we are encouraged to buy a new and “improved” item even if the one we have can be repaired. When we buy, we should buy items which are durable, we should maintain them, and have them repaired when necessary. If we practice this, many things cannot only last a lifetime, but can be passed along from generation to generation. If something is truly unusable for its original purpose, try to be creative and think of how else it might be used. When you are done with it, think of whether someone else might be able to use it as well.

Recycle
Rather than throwing an item out when neither you nor anyone else can make use of it, have it recycled. And while recycling is not perfect — it requires energy and the process of changing something into something else often produces by-products — it is better than sending goods to the landfill or having them incinerated. Find out what types of materials can be recycled in your area. Clean and sort the materials before putting them out on the curb — often collectors will not pick up recycling that is mixed or contains non-recyclables. For more information on recycling, visit the National Recycling Coalition website.(www.nrc-recycle.org).

Food

• Eat lower on the food chain — fruit and vegetable production requires far less energy than meat production.

• If you do eat meat, buy free-range, organically raised meat and poultry products. These have been raised humanely and on untreated feeds.

• Grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs without using pesticides.

• Eating organically grown fruits and vegetables doesn’t just reduce the amount of pesticides getting released into the environment, it’s also more healthy for you, the farmers and food handlers. Just look for the "certified organic" label.

• Eat local fruits and vegetables which are fresher and less likely to be waxed. Also, some imported produce may have been treated with pesticides and chemicals that have been banned in the United States and Canada.

• Cut excess fat off of meat and poultry and avoid high fat dairy products. Many chemicals released into the environment are stored in fat tissue and are cumulative.

• Avoid storing food in plastic. Use reusable glass containers for storing food in the refrigerator, but be careful, not all glass containers can be frozen.

• If you use plastic for storage, use containers specifically designed for this.

• Never microwave food in a plastic container. Even plastics that are approved for food storage and are "microwavable" may leech chemicals into your food when heated.

• If you must use plastic wrap, do not let it come in direct contact with your food and make sure that it is not made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl). Waste

• Buy in bulk. It’s cheaper and it uses less packaging.

• Buy vegetables loose, not in plastic bags.

• Avoid plastic containers, they are made of different types of plastic which are costly and difficult to separate and recycle.

• Choose products in refillable or reusable containers.

• Compost your food scraps.

• Look for products made from recycled materials.

• Use cloth instead of paper napkins and towels. Water

• Keep a covered container of water in the fridge for drinking - you won’t have to run the tap until the water is cold every time you want a drink.

• Keep a bowl of water in the sink while preparing food for quickly rinsing your hands.

• If you must use a dishwasher, only do full loads and use the econo setting. To save energy, stop the machine after the rinse and open the door to let the dishes air dry.

• Don’t let the water run while doing dishes.

Sources: www.greenpeace.org - www.worldwildlife.org -  Sofia M. Pico, LMT