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Is It Easy Being Green? A Nurse’s Opinion
I believe I was born green and not just by name. I have always loved growing things and have been planting and tending vegetable and flower gardens since I could lift a shovel. Once, I plowed under half of my parents’ land, by hand with a spade and pick, to plant a colossal vegetable garden. My two year old son loved it and came to me at the end of the day with a pocket full of glasses in his Osh Kosh overalls. I embraced recycling, composting, organic gardening, turning off lights, turning the thermostat up or down. I moved to a small town away from traffic and can ride my bike to the post office, pharmacy and grocery store. Now I plant to increase cover and attract birds, lizards, frogs, butterflies and other small animals that live in our development. With this, I have recently re-evaluated my still enthusiastic commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
There is a new housing development south of me. It was featured on local TV news as “the greenest development in the United States”. That got my attention. Homes are also “smart” with the ability to control functions through one’s cell phone. Any new housing, especially in this economy, is anti-green in that it destroys habitat. The small town where I live is surrounded by natural lands teeming with deer, wild boar, cougars, raccoons, opossums, armadillos and other wildlife. Oh yes, and there are alligators. I have seen these animals often enough to know that their habitats are full and scattered in developed areas, especially alligators. There is quite a community of “gators” in the ponds at the golf course and dog park. I don’t mind any of these space creatures. I just don’t know what green solution there is for destroyed habitat already covered with houses and stores.
But once one comes upon the destroyed habitat, these new homes incorporate amazing solutions such as a storm drainage system that recycles water and returns it better than it was. The houses all come with tinted windows and have all energy efficient appliances. That’s why being green is complicated. I scoured the web in my search for a definitive answer to the progress, or setback, of the green movement. What I see makes green initiatives a murky area where it is not very clear what is ultimately good for our environment. For example, I like salmon and it is healthy for me. I recently researched farm raised versus wild salmon and surprisingly found more support, health and environmental, for eating wild salmon:
· David Suzuki Foundation: In January 2001, BBC News produced a program “Warning from the wild, the price of salmon”. The program cited a pilot study conducted by Dr. Easton and the David Suzuki Foundation. The study found that farm raised salmon and the food they were fed appeared to have higher levels of contamination related to PCBs, organo-chlorine pesticides and polybrominated diphenyl ethers than wild salmon. He concluded that it seems that the contamination of farm fish comes from the food.
· EWG Report: In July 2003, the Environmental Working Group EWG released a report stating that farm-raised salmon purchased in the United States contain the highest levels of PCBs in the food supply system. In the report, EWG reported that farm raised salmon contains 16 times the PCBs found in wild salmon, 4 times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the levels in other seafood. The EWG recommends that consumers choose wild salmon over farmed salmon, and should eat an 8-oz serving of farmed salmon no more than once a month.
· ScienceJournal: In January 2004, the journal Science warned that farm-raised salmon contain 10 times more toxins (PCBs, dioxins, etc.) than wild salmon. The study recommends that farmed salmon be eaten once a month, perhaps every two months because of the cancer risk in humans.
(Excerpted from the Internet on October 29, 2012)
Wild Alaskan salmon are kept in a managed, environmentally friendly way, while salmon farming increases pollution. I have always preferred Alaskan sockeye salmon, but now I know that it is also a “greener” choice. It’s not something that would be obvious when fish farms are supposed to save us from overfishing wild fish. There are a lot of choices we make every day that have an impact on the re-greening of our planet, in theory, everything a person does has an impact on someone and / or something, so you could drive yourself crazy try to always stay green. I recommend several options to stay green and sane
1. Recycling, composting, wildlife planting and other age-old practices are still good ways to go green.
2. choose to use less chemicals in your life in almost always a good green choice.
3. Energy-saving appliances and energy-efficient homes use less energy and thus are an obvious advantage over older appliances.
4. Walking or cycling to your destination is good for your waistline and the planet.
5. We all have to drive sometimes, but think about whether every trip is necessary to help our planet stay healthy. Carpooling and running errands helps, so does driving a car with good gas mileage or one of the alternative automobiles.
6. Stay informed and research options that raise doubts.
I’m going green and now I’m committed to being more aware of the effects of my choices on the environment. The obvious choices are not always the best and not all “green” initiatives are what they seem. Sometimes time makes it obvious that we have gone down the wrong path. Support to monitor green projects for hidden issues is needed. We need to stop initiatives that time shows are flawed.
Our children and grandchildren are the last and most important keys to keeping our planet strong. Children should be exposed early to the wonders of nature, and not just by looking at monumental examples of what nature has to offer. It is wonderful to take the children to see whales or the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone geysers. What is often missing is immersion in the environment. Children need to get dirty, hold glass, lie in crunchy leaves, take a quiet walk in the woods, desert or on the beach and see what wildlife and plants are there, plant flowers and edible plants and watch them grow, or sit quietly. their own back yard and just wait to see what happens. Our children should be given the experiences they need to love nature.
I live out in the woods and I’m amazed at all the stars I can see. I have never stayed in a place that was this dark at night. I saw stars in this way when camping, but now I go outside and get psyched every night. When I look out into space it is with gratitude and a sigh of wonder. I mention this because of an incident with my dear sister. He recently visited us. She and her husband currently live near Washington DC. I mentioned that he should check out the stars and he did, and then admitted that he never noticed the night sky much. I love my sister like crazy, but it was sad to think that she never looked at the stars and the feeling you get when they play great music. You feel in awe of the genius of the maker and the wonder of the creation of the universe. You don’t have to be a deist to appreciate the fact that all these things were somehow created and unfolded according to natural laws.
My heartfelt prayer to my fellow human beings is to take your children and grandchildren out. Take some time away from the digital age and leave your smart phone inside. Lie down, be quiet and look around you. Hold your hand and share what you see. Or go to the beach and cover yourself with sand, look up and think about what it is like a small crab buried in the sand. I bet that crab isn’t excited about cigarette butts, soda cans and plastic littering its environment. I tried as a mother to spend most of my time outside with my children. Now they are grown and I can see the results of their love for nature in my grandchildren. I am committed to experiencing “green” with my grandchildren who are the gatekeepers of the future.
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