Doing My Part

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on

I have to admit to being a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to saving our planet from the effects of climate change. I know there are concrete things that I might do and I am all in for some of them and rather lazy about the rest. I suppose that if I really believe in the cause, which I do, it’s time for me to change some of my habits.

There was a time when I had a huge yard with enough room to create a fabulous compost heap. Never a potato skin nor eggshell went unused or thrown into a garbage bag. I religiously collected the dregs of my fruits and vegetables and sometimes even made broth before tossing them onto the mound of dirt hidden behind my garage. The soil that I created there was like black gold. It was filled with earthworms and filtered through my fingers with a richness that promised a magnificent harvest of whatever I wanted to grow. I tilled up a large section of the yard and planted tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, onions and strawberries which provided me with fresh vegetables from May to August every single year. I reveled in both the idea and the results of my back to nature project. 

The garage at my old home was rather astounding as well. In addition to having space for two cars it easily held a work area for my husband and housed our washer and dryer until we remodeled and brought them inside. I had a nice clothesline that I often used for drying clothes on sunny days, saving just a bit more electricity than my dryer would have used. It was all rather delightful. Inside that same garage I collected tin cans and paper and all sorts of recyclable items. I was a veritable pioneer woman.

For a time I used cloth bags when I went to the grocery store and turned the thermostat for my air conditioner up to the high seventies in the summer and then adjusted my heat to the high sixties in the winter. I was rather devoted to the task of doing my part to be less of a destroyer of the world around us and then somehow I became lazy, less enthusiastic, a real piker. 

I moved to a new home in 2005. The HOA would not allow me to have a clothesline in my yard. There was no place to build a compost heap and when I investigated compost bins they seems a bit too expensive and labor intensive. I experienced hormonal changes and hot flashes that were so intense that I had to fudge a bit on my pledge not to use so much air conditioning. I found myself forgetting to put my cloth bags into my car when I made trips to the store and my efforts at growing vegetables all failed in the lousy soil of my backyard. I found myself giving up on the effort save for agreeing to give my personal car away and share a car with my husband. Otherwise I became one of those people who believes that we must all make a concerted effort to heal our planet without actually doing as much as I might. 

The past year has forced me to pay attention to nature’s cries once again. I have been isolated at home for the most part and after I run of tasks to perform I read more about happenings across the globe and in my own backyard. I watched a series of devastating hurricanes roll across the Gulf of Mexico during the summer and held my breath each time a new storm formed and threatened my own part of Texas. I saw that hurricanes are creating ever more destruction and doing so more frequently.

In the fall I visited Colorado in what I called a human contact free adventure. I enjoyed drives and walks through Rocky Mountain National Park even as I saw the drought conditions that had changed the landscape. Not long after my departure many of the very places that I had visited were engulfed in flames as wildfires threatened towns and neighborhoods. Once again I realized that our general lack of effort to listen to the cries of the wild have resulted in havoc.

Then this past winter came something I had never before seen in my life. An unusual winter storm locked most of my state into what might have been a frozen wonderland had it not knocked out power and left millions literally freezing in the dark. I like many experienced temperatures in my home so frigid that I had to a wear coat, hat and gloves while sitting in my living room. I was fortunate to have a gas stove and gas fireplace along with a small generator that kept my refrigerator running and provided me a a few light in the evening. Nonetheless it was a somewhat frightening time because it convinced me that we can no longer ignore the damage that we humans are doing to the earth. If we do not begin to act with great intent the destruction that we have already wrought will no doubt only become worse.

I vow to do better. I would do well to return to my old ways and to do even more than I did back then. I need to think about my actions and their impact on the world. I do believe that we all have to begin making sacrifices and heed the warnings of those who tell us that our time is running out. I would hate to see the way of life in the city that I so love becoming one crisis after another caused by floods, hurricanes, and winter storms. We have to begin to work together or we will bear the pain alone. It’s way past time for doing everything we can to stop the tide of damage that we have wrought. It has to become a top priority or surely the future will be difficult for us all. I promise to do my part.