I felt it appropriate to post on the day of Earth Hour, but don’t read this during Earth Hour, which is 8:30pm to 9:30pm local time today!
The focus of this year’s Earth Hour is on what you are going to do beyond the Hour. Are you planning to reduce your energy use, ride your bike to work, or recycle? Well, I’m going to challenge you to do more. I’m going to challenge you to eliminate as many disposable products as you can from your lifestyle.
When it comes to issues regarding reducing our personal energy use, it seems to me that there is a lot of emphasis on our direct energy use, i.e. through our use of electricity, oil and gas, etc. But what about our indirect energy use? I believe this issue should also be at the forefront. That is why I started the Non-Disposable Earth Project, because I don’t think there is enough focus on how much energy use we can reduce by eliminating disposable products.
If we all turned off lights we aren’t using, that makes a significant difference collectively on our energy use. However, if we were all to stop using say, paper towels, that would have more impact than we realize. That’s because all we see is the product’s end use. We take it out of the package, wipe something up, and throw it out. No energy use except our own, right? We might feel guilty about adding garbage to the world, but do we stop to think about how much energy went into manufacturing that paper towel and getting it into our hands so it can be used just once and thrown away?
Let’s look at some of the benefits I can think of if we all stopped using paper towels:
- we would save all the energy (fossil fuels and electricity) that is consumed to clear-cut trees, transport them, process them into paper, package them, transport them to the stores, transport them home, and then transport them to the garbage dump
- we would have cleaner air by reducing the burning of fossil fuels
- we would save millions of trees
- we would preserve habitats for countless animals
- we would preserve countless plant species
- we would reduce our garbage, thus preserving the trees, plants, and habitat on land that would have been used for burying garbage
- we would have even more clean air because we have more trees and plants
- we would save a significant amount of water from the processing and manufacturing of the paper towels
- we would keep the chemicals used in the processing and manufacturing of paper towels out of our water supply
- we would save some money, and get to skip the paper towel aisle at the store, saving us some energy too!
And the list could go on. As you can see, eliminating just one disposable product from our lifestyle not only greatly reduces our energy use, but also has other far-reaching benefits.
Earth Hour is about a global movement towards a sustainable Earth. What better action to take than to eliminate the unsustainable practice of using disposable products? Think about it today during Earth Hour and let’s make this a Non-Disposable Earth. Look through your garbage and find a disposable product that you can live without. Then live without it. It’s that easy.