Like many Americans, I am trying to raise my consciousness about my own impact on our earth and how to lessen it. I am trying to be thoughtful in my use of resources and in my disposal of what is left. In short, I am trying to get greener.But it is not that easy. I know that the car I drive is a heavy, gas guzzling disaster. Sometimes I try to justify this to myself by noting that it does get better mileage on the highway and that I feel safe in it, but it still uses way too much fuel, a reality which is also getting my pocketbook’s attention about once a week at the gas pump. I will be more practical with my next purchase of a vehicle, but the current one is not quite three years old, so it will probably guzzle away with me for several more years.The Dickson household does recycle, and we are proud of that, but it, too, takes some time and effort. We bag newspapers, magazines, and the endless slick catalogues which come in the mail. A large plastic bin in a utility closet holds empty glass and plastic containers until it is full to overflowing. Then it is off to the Ann Street landfill to deposit the recyclables, a chore that takes some time and effort and is not all that pleasant. The recycling situation should be a bit less burdensome once the city of Fayetteville’s program begins this summer, but it will never be as simple as the “ungreen” option of simply tossing everything in the trash.{mosimage}
      All the blessed rain of late has eased the drought conditions across North Carolina, including in our area, but I am trying not to return to my unthinking use of water. I now understand far better than I did before the drought that water
      I have come to view shopping as a conservation challenge as well. Like many women, I do most of the shopping for our household, grocery and otherwise, and I am increasingly dismayed by the extravagant, luxurious waste in packaging. I recently bought a package of small appliance batteries, which came on a cardboard backing with a hard plastic shell as are many other consumer products. Bottles of various liquids are packaged in boxes. The reasons for all of this packaging are varied, but they often include ease of packing and shipping and a desire to make the products more difficult to conceal and steal.  But what happens to all that fancy packing. Consumers, you and I, generally throw it away and it winds up in our landfills.
      Bagging our purchases is another issue. Do you prefer paper or plastic? Neither is environmentally sound, and both also wind up in our landfills. For my birthday last fall, my children gave me two large canvas tote bags, which I keep in the gas guzzler to carry my purchases from the store. They work just fine, and I feel good about doing what people in Europe and other parts of the world have done for decades.  I see more and more people doing the same thing, and I take great satisfaction in seeing that many stores now offer such bags for sale to their customers at relatively modest prices instead of providing only paper or plastic. My only problem has been remembering to take my own bags into stores, and more than once I have had to walk back into a parking lot to retrieve them.
      Someone much greener than I has some other environmentally friendly and easy suggestions. Unplug appliances that you are not using.  This is helpful to the pocketbook as well. Turn your thermostat down in colder weather and add a layer of clothing. In the summer, crank it up a bit and take off a layer. This, too, is helpful to your pocketbook. Compost fruits and vegetables from your kitchen.  This can be a tad messy, but it will help your plants. Read newspapers and magazines on line, thereby saving a few trees. This is not my natural inclination because I love the feel of what I am reading in my hands, but I find myself doing this more and more, especially for a quick peek at the morning news. It probably is the way of the future.
       With Mother’s Day creeping up on us, these are ways to love your mother č Mother Earth.



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