Thursday, September 08, 2011

Can I Save the World ?

HeleneJa ponders if she can indeed fight Global Warming and save the World!

With so much information out there about global warming and the effects that are causing natural disasters, is there anything we as individuals can do to make a difference? Yep! You don't need to move mountains, but a small pebble can really make ripples that can create positive changes world wide. Here's a few "pebbles" you can use today!

We all feel we have a purpose in life. As more of us become aware of the damaging effects of global warming, we are also concerned about practical solutions to the problem. Most importantly, how can we fit in as part of the solution, instead of the problem?

Unfortunately, many of us become overwhelmed when we watch the ever-increasing natural disasters and it starts to feel like the world is crashing around us. I remember watching the plane hit the World Trade Center over and over and over again. I remember being completely paralyzed to the television. Sleep was optional, but only in between important news breaks. I felt helpless. I wanted to understand the reasoning behind the attacks to ease my fears of possible future attacks, but I mainly wanted a sense of control back into my life.

I do not like to focus on the doom of global warming because that's not the best mindset for me to find solutions and implement actions. I truly believe we all can make a difference in our lives, in the lives of our families, friends and community. I also am a firm believer that every single action taken produces a ripple effect throughout the world. When we take a simple action such as changing a light bulb to a compact fluorescent bulb, a positive motion is set in place.

Just for fun, let's see what can happen: (this will show how the action affects others)

- That old bulb in the living finally goes out. You go to your local hardware store and see miles of shelves of light bulbs! OY! (production of CFL bulbs)

- Someone comes over to help and maybe suggest a CFL. "A what?" you ask. The assistant tells you that even though the bulb is more expensive than a basic tungsten bulb, it will last years longer, it will not burn hot, uses way less energy, thus saving you money every month AND prevents the release of more than 450 pounds of emission from a power plant normally used to light the old style bulbs into the air! (increased sales and more potential advertisement of a green product, decreased amount of carbons released into the atmosphere)

- You read the advertisement and glimpse the familiar EnergyStar sign. So, you think, "Why not!" (increased awareness of a great program)

- You go home and your kids ask you about the funny looking bulb. (educates the kids and tell their friends how smart their parents are!)

- Your friends come over for dinner and recognize the bulb, but never really considered buying one until now. (increased awareness through word-of mouth [extremely powerful!!!] and more potential sales, advertisement, decreased emissions)

- You get the electric bill the next month and notice you really did use less electricity AND saved a little money. ($$$)

- You go to buy more CFL bulbs and realize the prices dropped a bit due to increased sales! (supply and demand of a product that improves our world)

That's just for changing one bulb! Just one action really can make an impact. Just because we do not always see the immediate results don't mean they aren't there!

So what are the best solutions of global warming? Can we help save the world? Yep. I would first suggest do whatever feels right for you. The level of comfort will be different for everyone. To me, it can be summed up as: AWARENESS and ACTION


My first exposure to environmental issues came about while working at Home Depot. I watch as a person chained himself to our lumber shelves and awaited the local police. His actions, maybe a bit extreme to some, created awareness to the customers, Home Depot and the media. Many of those same actions ultimately changed the way Home Depot purchased and sold lumber.

For me, my level of comfort was turning off the lights. The more I learned, the more I did to help the environment. Learning about basic, easy-to-do home repairs really made a difference and increased my confidence as well as the confidence of my customers.

Now, years later, I must say living in Thailand has taught me a lot about saving energy as well as joining together for what you believe in. I've seen Thais go to the employment office and march because wages were too low. I have witnessed the ousting of a political figure because the Thais felt betrayed.

I have greater respect for Thais and for others I've met from different countries. Their views and actions have taught me so much about global warming. I also have greater appreciation for our abilities as Americans to make changes worldwide.

So to further answer people's question - "What are the best solutions to global warming?" My suggestions are all easy to do, but the main factor lies with what is comfortable for you. If I am given a great idea, but is too time-intensive, I probably won't do it. But if it's as easy as hitting the enter key, now you got my attention!

Ok. We are much more aware of what's going on. We understand we have a problem. Now what?


I started with small steps. As I learned more, I found the bigger steps easier than I realized. I discussed my views with others and listened to their ideas.

My friends in Alabama recently installed solar heaters and a tankless water heater. Businesses are seeing the advantages of doing the right thing and stepping up their environmental cleaning efforts People from all walks of life have created petitions requesting a more proactive government. Even the 2008 Presidential Candidates are listening. Many are now including global warming as their primary issue.

Need some ideas to get your creative green juices flowing? OK! Here you go! Enjoy!

- Get the family involved - make it fun and educational.

- Make it a project during your child's science fair.

- Chat with your friends - they may have some unique ideas.

- Add a signature tag to your emails. I have a personal account with Yahoo. Whenever I send someone an email, my signature message or quote is at the end of the page. I create the signature once and forget about it. If you see a quote you like or have a message to share with others - signature it!

- Find out what tax incentives or refunds are available to you, i.e. hybrid car tax incentives, toilet replacement rebates, deduct the costs of energy-saving appliances and energy renovations in your home.

- Support greener businesses. Our money dictates what businesses sell. Our support encourages businesses to continue doing the right thing.

- Want to invest in the stock market? What companies are moving forward in clean-up? Researching new technologies? Contributing portions of their profits to support environmental organizations?

- Vote. What candidates are fighting for positive changes in the environment? Who seems to be making global warming a primary focus in their campaign? How does the candidate balance global warming and the economy? Does the candidate understand the threat and what solutions does he or she offer?

- Join others online and become a part of something bigger. In the past, petitions involved going door-to-door or standing near the mall entrance. Thanks to the internet, a letter to Congress has never been easier - or more effective! Read the letter already prepared. If you agree with it, type your name and hit ENTER!

- Submit your ideas to websites. I would love input from you! Your ideas can be just what someone else needed! Many websites would also benefit from your thoughts and appreciate the communication!

- Start a discussion group in your community. Barnes and Noble or Borders are excellent meetings spots. It's a great way to meet others and bounce around ideas.

- Help improve your neighborhood. In Tampa, there's a wonderful community group that has a Project Lottery. Each participant chooses a project they need completed on their house. A name is pulled every month. The neighbors spend one weekend on the project. The lucky owner provides drinks and snacks to the neighbors volunteering.

- Create a website of your own! Everyone has a voice. Today, websites are effective communicators and very inexpensive. Get the kids or the community involved. Let your voice be heard too! Even better, volunteer for Green Coalition.

HeleneJa is a writer and an environmentalist in the making!

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