The 50% Plan:  Reducing your environmental impact by 50% in 2007.  Doing your part to save planet earth!

By Lisa Tyler

You probably know I believe in Jesus and a divine purpose and plan for us.  I don't believe that anything can hurt God's people individually unless it is in His plan, but I do believe we are all affected by our behaviors in general.

Regardless of whether or not these things are true, being good stewards of our resources and reducing our impact on the environment are things we should be doing, and doing with pride.

This article's information is based on scientific views from a documentary on Global Warming, and it's sense of urgency comes from that shared by the scientists who are seeking to make the crisis known.

Be sure to see the ideas and declarations at the end of the article. 

They say that Global Warming/Climate Change is real and it’s happening now.  According to a special I saw on television a week or so ago, we have one shot at doing something big enough and comprehensive enough to stop it or slow it way down, before a major portion of earth’s population goes extinct (including humans) and a huge part of the livable, arable land goes underwater or turns into desert.

The time frame is from today to 50 years from today.  If we don’t act now, there may not be a year 2057.  The Mayan calendar ends at 2012; did they know something we don’t?

The ice shelves to the north are melting and breaking off into the sea.  There are two of them, and each one will increase sea levels approximately 20 ft.  (40 ft. total)  (The sea level has risen 8 ft. already.) 

If this happens (and it is happening now as you read this), here is what you can expect life to be like nearly overnight. 

Most of Florida will be underwater, much of Manhattan and all of the coastlines, most of China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, etc., and India, including London and the Netherlands and so much more that it’s difficult to name all of the places that will be no more.

Do you have property in one of these places?  Do you have loved ones there?  We’re talking 200 million people, in possibly the US alone, who will be refugees, running for their lives to escape the water. 

Where will they go?  To your house.

Imagine the scene of Katrina, with it’s 100,000 people fleeing the gulf coast.  Remember the traffic jams, the human needs, the cost?  The disease?  Imagine that 100,000 people being 200 million people and coming inland from all directions.

Where will they go?  Do you think the sparsely populated inner states can support them all?

Right now the Midwest is experiencing a recurrence of the dustbowl.  Much of the inland states depend on snow packs in the mountains melting in the spring to replenish the water supply.  The snow isn’t happening, and the water is getting scarce.  Plants cannot grow in the terrible heat without sufficient water, and animals of all kinds are encroaching northward and inland as we speak, seeking safer ground.

Watch the animals, they are smarter than we are.  They know when an earthquake is about to happen, and they know when a severe winter is coming.  When masses of armadillos and wildlife that previously was only found in the deep south suddenly go north, you’ve got to ask yourself why?

As these climate changes increase, animals and all food sources will become more scarce.  Hunting, fishing and farming are already suffering.

You and I are in the X generation, the group of people alive when the worst catastrophe that ever hit our planet happens.  What we individually decide to do tomorrow and the day after that, will write the script for what happens to planet earth in our lifetime and beyond.

What can you do?  Are you thinking that you’re only one person and even if you stopped polluting and wasting energy that the big companies won’t?

It has to begin here, with you and with me.  It can begin like a ripple in a pond, and by the power of our money and voices, our purchases, and our votes in elections, we CAN change the future.

If every American family set a goal this year to decrease their “environmental footprint” (energy use, consumption and waste) by 50% by the end of 2007, we WILL have changed the world.

How can you do this?  What does it mean for you?

List all the ways you use power, energy, food, materials, oil, gas, water etc.  Take notice of which of these things you positively can’t do without, and change them slightly.  The things that you can change more, do so. 

If you commonly leave your house lights on for hours in the evening, or even all night, or your televisions while you’re asleep or away from home, reduce the hours that these things are turned on.  (Consider replacing your light bulbs and older appliances with energy efficient types.)

If you usually drive your car, plan to walk or ride a bicycle, car pool, or reduce the number of trips to town or around town that you make.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

If you can purchase a hybrid vehicle, do so.  Let the manufacturers know that you demand more products that do not use fossil fuels, and ones that are even more efficient than these!

If you take long showers, or several a day, reduce the time and frequency of full showers, and sometimes just wash off in a basin or the sink, the way our grandparents did.  If you have a water leak, make it a priority to fix it.

I believe you can notify your post office that you no longer want to accept junk mail, or anything addressed to “current resident”.  Some of your bills can be switched to online paying and billing, so there aren’t as many paper bills coming to your house. 

Depending on the time you have (or a family member who might want a job to do), you can also cut down the envelopes that your bills come in to reuse as scrap paper and grocery list paper.  (Great job for young children and grandparents who want to be useful.)

Do you have old, clean clothes, t-shirts and underwear that you can cut up to make dust rags instead of buying Handiwipes?

Even being determined to use today’s leftovers to create supper tomorrow can cut down on costs and waste.

There are literally HUNDREDS of ways that you can minimize the impact you have on the earth. 

How many deodorant jars or toothpaste tubes do you send to the landfill each year?  You can buy the mineral salt stone that you never replace, it will last your lifetime.  You can use natural means to brush your teeth, that don’t require toothpaste.

The benefits of doing these two things are huge.  First, if you don’t buy the products over and over, the factories will stop making so many, reducing the energy costs, pollution and materials that make them. 

If you stop using poisonous aluminum in your deodorant (yes it’s there – read the label – it is suspected to lead to Alzheimer’s), and extremely deadly fluoride in your toothpaste (do a search on fluoride and see just how bad that is for you), you will not only live longer, but you won’t have as many health problems, which will save money and misery.

Do you purchase bottled water like I do?  If we invested in a good water purification system, we’d save money and the energy it costs to produce all those plastic bottles.  We’d also stop filling the landfills with the bottles.  Recycling was a good idea, and it had its day, but it’s not available in my area (and many others) and it’s not complete enough.  We have to do more.

Did you know that you could make and use a solar cooker instead of using electricity or burning fuels that release more gas into the air?  The plans are on the Internet.  (Also, pressure cookers cook much faster and use less energy.)

Yes, it’s inconvenient to learn a new way to cook, but the freedom these small changes can give you once you learn the new tricks, can leave so much money in your pocket that you could take a vacation to a tropical paradise.  (Before they are plunged into the sea never to be enjoyed again.)

Do you know that you can build a fairly simple solar water heater, that uses PVC pipe and black paint? 

Your water heater is one of the biggest energy hogs in your home.  Another is your well pump, if you are not on city water.  Your clothes dryer and air conditioner are right in behind them.

Can you hang your clothes to dry now and then?  Or even just your towels and blankets?

Can you spend some of your entertainment money on better insulating your house, or lobbying for contractors in your area to be able to build some of the newer home methods that use so much less energy to heat and cool?

Make it a family project!  Gather your children and make a contest of who in your home can reduce their use/waste the most and give them a prize.  Let it be your family’s point of pride that you have done what you could to save mother earth.

Examine the way your family cooks, the types of food you eat and the methods of preparing it.  Perhaps you will find that cutting back a small percentage of the amount you eat and the cooking time (eat more salads and raw vegetables), will trim off pounds without effort and reduce your need for medicine to combat weight and food related illnesses.  (Diabetes, heart disease etc.)

See how many tasks you can relearn to do the old fashioned way and try a few to see if you enjoy doing them.

Make t-shirts and bumper stickers that tell the world you’ve reduced your 50%, and pass on the word that everyone needs to do the same.  Ask your local schools to adopt the program, and go door to door to raise awareness.

Imagine for a moment the impact that reducing the number of vehicles in your family would have on your bank account, as well as the environment.  For each vehicle, you have a car payment, taxes, tag, insurance, parking fees, gasoline, tires, washing and maintenance costs.  What does that add up to in a year?  I heard once that it’s about $9000 a year.  Do the math yourself and see if you couldn’t live with just a bit less.

Do you buy shoes, clothes or toys frequently?  See what you can recycle, repair and reuse.

Of course there are some things that you won’t want to touch, because you’re not ready to make such drastic changes, but anything at all that you can start with, and remain committed to doing better, will help in so many ways!

Before purchasing anything, ask yourself "Do I really need it?" If after careful consideration you decide that you need it, see if you can borrow it from someone you know, rent it, buy it second-hand, or share the cost of a brand-new one with someone you know.

You will have more money, more physical energy, and live longer, as well as helping the planet survive!

Did you know that reducing your environmental impact can also include improving your community impact?

There is a huge cost socially of crime, hatred, racial issues, and poverty.  Where you stand in the community, and whether you are friend or foe, makes a big difference in the legacy you leave behind, and the impact you have on others around you now.

  • Determine that you will accept the differences in others and celebrate them, instead of complaining about them.
  • Decide that instead of getting angry while you’re driving, you will be extra courteous and forgiving on the road and wherever you interact with people.
  • Put a smile on your face and genuinely wish no harm on your neighbors, and others will smile back.
  • When you go to a grocery store, take in your own cart and always return it to the store when you’re done.   Those few extra steps burn off pounds too!
  • When you have trash to throw away, do it yourself instead of leaving it for someone else to handle. 
  • Cleaning up, or picking up someone else’s mess without complaining, (for instance beer bottles in parking lots, and trash thrown alongside your road), can make everyone’s experience on earth happier and more at ease.
  • Say a little prayer of blessing for everyone you pass, and share a smile with them.  You will lower your blood pressure and that of the person who receives your good will.  It’s contagious.  Before long, you’ll have your whole neighborhood being kind.

Feel free to email me with your ideas and the ways you decide to reduce and simplify in 2007. 

For more information and ideas, search online for frugal living, simplicity, global warming, environment and community.  Visit my websites for more ideas, and 

 © Lisa Tyler 2007

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