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How Can We Take Care of the Environment in a Way that's Practical?

     It's a sad fact of life that ordinary people have taken on board the climate change and environmental messages and started to change their behaviour rather faster than the politicians seem able to do.

No-one would deny that in an unequal world getting global agreement on tackling global warming, food scarcity and water shortages is not easy, however.

Some countries, especially the emerging economies like India, China, Brazil and Russia, quite understandably say the current situation is not a mess of their creation therefore why should they make equal sacrifices when they have so much further to go to bring their people to the point of being able to enjoy all the material benefits the West has enjoyed for several centuries.

Nevertheless common agreement is becoming more urgent on a number of issues, regardless of fairness, because we all share the same planet and atmosphere.

Some of these issues are big. Among them are agreed global regulations for the new low-chem agricultural products now being created by biopesticides developers and also State help to create the infrastructure to enable developing world farmers to get their produce to market and state help for farmers to invest in new high-yield, drought-resistant seeds, biopesticides and fertilisers.

Other "biggies" include states investing in water conservation, waste water harvesting, clean-up of polluted water sources and incentives for recycling, the list is endless.

Making changes at local level can be as problematic and even when local politicians do adopt the "right" ethical policies they can often be unrealistic or make things harder for us.

At local level in the UK, for example, many places now have campaigns - and some facilities - for sorting and recycling waste. Some can be done without leaving home, others, as in one town we know of, mean a lengthy drive to the only waste collection point where you can safely get rid of empty paint cans - so the carbon footprint goes up!

In that same town, in a largely rural county, there's been a lot of pressure to get people to use public transport rather than their cars! How can local small businesses with rurally-based clients where no bus is ever seen, visit a client for an hour's meeting if it's going to take all day to get there and back? Sometimes the phone or email will not do and a face to face meeting is needed.

Plainly, however much we would like to be "green" there's a need also to be realistic and practical about it.

There are, however, a number of things we can do in our own homes and neighbourhoods without major inconvenience.

You can save energy by setting your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and wearing an extra layer, installing energy saving light bulbs, unplugging appliances you're not using and using a clothesline or drying rack rather than a machine for drying clothes.

If you eat meat, maybe have one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot to buy - and it's even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs. Whenever you can buy locally-raised, humane and organic meat, eggs and dairy.

Instead of buying bottled water use a water filter to purify tap water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of plastic waste. Invest in a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminium rather than plastic, to use when travelling or at work.

Borrow and share where you can - everything from library books to DVDs and magazines. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing. Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbours while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.

Avoid plastic carrier backs and tuck a fold-up re-usable bag in your pocket, handbag or your car's glove compartment and also recycle your PC printer cartridges.

There are many ordinary household items that can substitute for expensive store-bought polishes and cleaners - like using vinegar to clean windows, they work and save you money too!

In the garden - how about those old-fashioned rainwater barrels and tanks? It's easy to fit one to a wastewater pipe from the kitchen and bathroom and you can use the water on the plants in the garden.

There's an old saying that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - possibly individual actions could make more of a difference than many of us realise even though there's no doubt that some changes will need to be made on a more global scale than is currently happening.

Copyright (c) 2010 Alison Withers

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Journalist Ali Withers says that whatever measures we develop to save the planet they need to be pragmatic if people are to adopt them. There's no longer doubt about the urgency of supporting initiatives from supporting biopesticides developers, to farmers, to persuading people to change their habits to live and work more sustainably.

Posted on 2010-06-07, By: *

* Click on the author's name to view their profile and articles!!!

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author,

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