Monday, April 20, 2015

Know better, do better.

Image by Whimsy+Wild.

Above is one of my most favorite quotes from one of my most favorite writers, Maya Angelou. It so beautifully encapsulates my parenting style--to do the best I can until I find a better way. 

This philosophy can also apply to us as we learn to better care for our Earth. I've compiled a list of links, articles, and simple ways you and your family can help make Earth Day every day and better care for our shared land, air, and water. 

The 4 areas of interest I'm writing about--sustainable food & land use, water preservation, energy & climate change, and advocacy--are the 4 program areas of Faith in Place

Sustainable food & land use:

Know better: Did you know that for every burger you skip you can save enough water to shower for 2.5 months?  Or if the world reduced meat consumption 15%, it would have the same greenhouse gas reduction as taking 240 million cars off the road each year? It takes A LOT of water to feed and raise livestock. 

Do better: Go meatless at least one meal a week. Meatless meals decrease water usage and greenhouse gasses. Buy local, in-season produce when possible. But don't try to trick anyone: mashed cauliflower is good, but it does not taste, look, or feel like mashed potatoes. Instead, explain why you're trying a meatless recipe. Get the kids involved in selecting and preparing meatless meals.Take a trip to your local farmers market, let your child(ren) choose something that he/she would like to try, then look for recipes.  

I've done this with my own children during summer break. Some recipes were great, some were flops. But we've always had fun and learned something new in the process. 

Water preservation:

Know better: The UN expects 3.4 billion people will be living in countries defined as water-scarce by 2025. When water is scarce, people are forced to consume contaminated water. Fighting can break out in areas of scarcity, putting women and children at risk of violence. I encourage you to read the UN's full report on water here

Do better: Like cold drinking water? Instead of running the tap until the water is cold enough, keep a water pitcher in your fridge. Don't want to shorten shower time? Get a high efficiency shower head. Don't let rain water go to waste! Build a rain barrel.

Energy & climate change:

Know better: My area of work for Faith in Place is energy use. I educate consumers about the smart grid and the new smart meters being deployed by Ameren across Illinois, and how this new technology can help energy users have better control of their energy bill and consumption. 
Here are a few sites to explore:
http://smartpowerillinois.org
http://www.energy.gov/?BT_CODE=KIDS
http://faithinplace.org/public/ask/index.php?title=Learn_About_Smart_Meters

Do better: Become an educated consumer! There are many ways to decrease our energy consumption and our energy costs. Use the links above, or invite me to come to your place of worship or group to give a presentation about smart energy use. 

Advocacy:

Know better: Did you know the clean energy industry in Illinois added its 100,000th worker in 2014? The clean energy industry is growing.  But it's survival and growth depends on support from you!

Do better: Advocate for clean energy jobs. Or attend an Earth Day rally.

Happy Earth Day!  

If if you have any questions, please contact me at christina@faithinplace.org!

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