standing Letters

Per the landmark U.N. report released in early May, “biodiversity is collapsing faster than at any time in human history.” The report estimates that “around a million species already face extinction, many within decades,”unless the world takes transformative action to save natural systems. This article gives us some hope, citing countries’ nature preserves, states and local governments taking steps to reduce plastic waste (Westerly single-use plastic bag ban? Check. Great job Westerly!), corporate social responsibility initiatives, etc. But what can I do as a seemingly powerless individual?

First, forget what you think you know about feeling powerless. The American consumer is one of the most powerful constituencies alive today, though we need to change our actions if we want to promote tomorrow’s well-being. Make a waste-reduction goal for yourself, your family, with a friend, your place of employment (perhaps your pet?). Include measureable goals to see how you’re doing employing cleverly creative methods that you can share with others. Donate or freecycle reuseable resources.

Waste is an absolute killer, since not only do we send precious resources to the landfill, we use valuable resources to “throw things away,” with no one ever able to tell me where exactly “away” is, as most non-human animals live “away.”

Additionally, consider: 1. Supporting environmental organizations (Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and the Ocean Conservancy are my favorites) that exist to lead the fight for our natural world, which can overwhelm individuals; 2. Investing in SRIs (Socially Responsible Investments with Green Century fossil fuel-free mutual funds being my favorite); and 3. Voting for political leaders who prioritize nature and the environment (Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse is my favorite ... who’s yours?).

Prioritizing our Earth translates to voting Republicans whose party litmus test is climate change denial as glaciers come crashing down, sea levels rise and the world burns, out of office. Have a nice day.

Jay Lustgarten


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