Guest blog by Vittoria Totaro
Happy Earth Day! To all our friends and family and everyone beyond, we hope you are doing well during this crazy time.
Speaking of this crazy time, a lot of us are on lock down in our homes, some with work, some without. While it certainly is a stressful time, it has provided us with ample opportunity to reflect on how we choose to live on the Earth and regard Mother Nature. I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to tread lightly, reduce my carbon footprint, and think about how I can contribute to the solution rather than be part of the problem.
Those of us living in the southwest are uniquely suited to help combat climate change on a macro scale. These states have the highest number of full-sun days, meaning that we have the potential to become the epicenter of the solar movement. It is also windy as heck where the flatlands meet the mountains, which is another opportunity for wind power.
On a micro scale, our efforts to become part of the solution look a little different. Becoming vegan, or eating as little meat as possible can exponentially reduce your carbon footprint. If you do eat meat, try to make sure it is high quality and as local as possible. Remember, not only is eating vegetables good for the planet, but it’s good for YOU too! I personally still eat meat every once in a while, but never more than once per week—pretty much when I go to my parents’ house for dinner.
Drive less! It is a difficult thing to achieve if you live in a pretty rural area like I do, but one thing I have found in this past month is that it is possible to work remotely, at least some of the time if not all of the time. When you do drive, try to carpool. Or, if your town isn’t bike friendly, try to talk to your local government(s) about putting in an accessible bike path. When you go do the great outdoors for some adventuring, see if your friends want to ride with you. Taking one less car out there makes a huge difference!
Do everything we can to preserve natural wildlife and wilderness areas. This is a tough one because oil and gas drilling yields a whole lot of tax revenue for oil rich states, but wilderness has benefits beyond habitat for wildlife and giving us a space to explore the outdoors. Wilderness is what scientists call a carbon sink, meaning that it draws down carbon from the atmosphere. The less wilderness and wild space we have, the less carbon drawdown. Work with your local and state governments to make sure that preservation of land is part of their plan for combatting climate change.
And finally, the last best thing you can do is either support your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, or grow some of your own food. Industrial agriculture has wreaked havoc on the fertile land of our country, especially in the southwest. While you might wonder how to possibly grow anything in the arid conditions in the southwest, our Native friends have been doing it for centuries (if not millennia). Ask them for their advice, or better yet, pay them for it! They know how to work with the local flora to be able to live off the land. Nothing like weaving in a little social justice with climate justice!
Anyway, I hope this post sparked a couple of ideas for you. There are so many things we can do, if even just in our own homes or the way we live our lives. From the bottom of my heart I wish you health and happiness on this Earth Day. Go have fun in nature wherever you are, and PLANT SOME THINGS