Protecting the environment was a foreign concept to me when I first came to America in the 1970s. I did not pay much attention to the environment until I toured China a decade ago.
The polluted air in Xian, where the Terra Cotta soldiers lie, was thick with gloom. You could never see sunrise or sunshine. The sky was woven with dark clouds all day. On a Three Gorges cruise, the water was dirty. The Chinese shipping crew threw garbage into the water, despite the fact that the cruise was organized by a European company.
I realize how blessed I am to live in America and to have clean air, water, and a beautiful sky. We can all do something to keep it that way.
Thanks to Al Gore and the documentary about his crusade to educate the world on climate change, “An Inconvenient Truth.” I learned that everyone can make a difference in the environment. It’s not that inconvenient to be environment-friendly. A greener life is good for everyone.
Some of these practices I have adopted from the Oscar-winning documentary and Gore’s books:
1. Walk and meet friends
Five years ago, I filled my car’s gas tank every other week, now it’s every six weeks. I am saving the planet as well as my pocket book. Whenever I have meetings downtown, I choose to take the bus one way and walk back. It is cheaper and more convenient. It saves me stress and time from finding parking. It gives me a chance to exercise. Some friends even walk a few blocks with me, to chat. It’s a great way to make friends.
2. Take the bus
Several years ago, I hated the bus. It took forever to get to a destination. Most importantly, it was not on time. Today, I laugh at those who don’t believe in our transportation system. What they have missed, I muse. The King County bus system is one of the best. When I am on a bus, I think, write, or even practice my speeches.
I make friends by begging for rides after events. No one ever refuses me. Often, we have meaningful conversations. I learn more about my friends by carpooling with them.
4. Grocery shop daily
I used to shop once a week, and I got everything in bulk. But when you get everything in bulk, you have to drive in order to bring the items home. So I decided to shop almost every day in the ID and walk. When you shop everyday, you buy everything in small quantities, and most of the food is fresh, not frozen.
5. Eat organic
I have to admit that some organic foods don’t taste good, and I eat both for nutrition and taste. You have to experiment. It is not that expensive to eat organic, and it’s worth it. During the past two years, I have eaten a lot more veggies. But yeah, I’m still hungry for juicy prime rib once in a while!
6. Conserve energy
To save energy, we changed our lighting system to one that is more energy efficient. Those efficient light bulbs last longer, too.
7. Use the dryer less
I dry a lot of my clothes on a rack instead of the dryer. When Seattle’s weather is dry, my clothes require only a day to dry.
April 22 is Earth Day. You can take small steps to be green like me. ♦