Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Friend in Need; The Environment

Post By: Guest Blogger, Kiersten Washle

        When it comes to a friend who is in need, we all know that our hearts would go out to our pal and we would do anything within our power to help them. Today, I think we should reevaluate our relationship with the communities we live in, and look at how we treat nature.  Instead of viewing nature as an inanimate setting, I propose we think of it as a friend. After all, our environment lends us support, protection, and all the other essentials needed for life as we know it; these are all the characteristics of a good friend. The problem is, if these are the friendly characteristics that nature demonstrates, where are our friendly characteristics? What are we doing in return for the friend that has helped us out so much? The obvious answer is "not enough." Yet, even though the counts of our friendly deeds are falling short, nature continues to prove her merit by giving without asking for anything in return. However, it is time that we stop taking advantage of nature's manners and unselfishness. It is high time we try to return some of the kindnesses we have received.
      There are a surfeit of opportunities to give back. We have all heard about not using plastic bags, trying to take shorter showers, turning off lights, or unplugging unused appliances but maybe it is time to take a bigger step. These are all wonderful options and I certainly encourage them, nevertheless I think it should be said- no more baby steps so that we can comfort our consciences, while any small step will help, any big step will help more.
      The bigger options are not as intimidating as they might seem, though they may not be as simple as flipping as switch, big changes can be made by making a switch. Education is key, try reading up in the latest environmental technology. It might turn out that switching from traditional power to a solar source is as simple as installing a solar panel. Below are a few sources that offer very interesting information about environmentally friendly options. 

This website does a terrific job describing the history of solar energy as well as the mechanics of solar panels. 
This is an article from National Geographic explaining the big picture, what solar energy is and what it is used for. It tells about a few pros and cons. Among the cons it mentions that solar paneling can be expensive, this is true of course but you must take into account the lasting effects on your energy bill. You will pay a large amount up front but you will save yourself money long term.

Bigger steps do not have to be difficult! It could be as easy as doing some online shopping; this link is a website that sells products meant to help everyday life become more eco-friendly.

Rainwater is a great resource that few people think about. This website gives very detailed information about rainwater collection stations and how much water can be collected based on annual rainfall. It focuses on the larger scale, which would be a big but perhaps not practical, investment. If you like the idea but cannot make that kind of investment, there are also smaller rainwater collectors on the market. They can be found at Whole Foods and other similar stores. These small scale product can be rather attractive, they would make a nice addition to an outdoor landscape. These simple systems would not act as a supplement to the household water systems, but it could easily act as the provider for garden and lawn watering needs.

Hopefully this post provided you with some ideas or information you have yet to hear. Perhaps looking at nature as our friend will help change our attitudes and remind us that we should treat our environment like the old friend it is. Every little bit helps, but leaps and bounds don't hurt.

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