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Thursday, 28 January 2010

A Priceless Gift

By Lyn Burnstine of The Lynamber Times

(I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but sometimes we all need a reminder. I have been more observant of some of these ideas since writing this article for my senior residence newsletter.)

How would you like to leave a priceless gift for your grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many generations to come? It won’t cost you a penny: in fact, it may save you a few.


Indigenous people, Native Americans, believe in considering the effect of all their decisions on the ecology of our environment reaching ahead to seven generations. We would do well to follow their philosophy.

How to do that? We can, in small ways. We tend to think “What can one person do?” Well, most of us grew up in the Great Depression and we know that a penny saved and another penny saved soon adds up to a dime, and dimes add up to a dollar – something the current generations seem not to know.

So, what can we do to give our future generations a cleaner world? Those of us who have downsized, as I did twenty-five years ago, have already done more than those who still have big houses, yards, multiple appliances and multiple vehicles. But we can do something: it does make a difference.

And the upside is that our “carbon footprints” have already been made smaller by our NOT still maintaining big houses and yards, with all the electricity and water required.

Here are some specific suggestions to try:

  1. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.

  2. Don’t run water constantly while washing your dishes: wash in a basin, set dishes in sink, then rinse all at once.

  3. Put on a sweater or robe and slippers instead of turning up the thermostat.

  4. Use grocery bags for garbage rather than buying plastic bags. (I know, it's a bit of a toss-up: paper bags are said by some environmentalists to use far more water to produce, buying plastic bags for garbage disposal compounds the environmental impact, so what's a girl to do? Or guy?)

  5. Drink tap water or home-filtered instead of bottled water (many studies show it’s just as healthy)

  6. Group your errands and shopping trips: do several in one area instead of running to the store for one thing – or, better yet, car pool.

  7. Recycle, recycle, recycle – also re-use glass and plastic containers yourself instead of buying more. You can freeze food in glass jars as long as you leave an inch of headroom. I've done it for decades.

  8. Don’t waste food: As a person living alone, it’s sometimes hard to finish a bag of salad greens before they wilt, so share with a neighbor or share a box of clementines, hoping she’ll either offer to pay half or treat you next time. (If not, find a more sensitive neighbor!) Offer your neighbor that last bowl of soup that you’re tired of instead of tossing it. When you eat out, plan to bring half home for the next day, or order with a friend and split the serving.

  9. Turn off lights, TVs, appliances when not in use, and unplug the ones you can reach - they use power just plugged in. Consider turning your air conditioning down just two degrees. If you are able to, open your windows on cool summer nights to let the fresh air in and save on air conditioning. The bonus, to me, is the nighttime chirring of cicadas and the morning wake-up call of the cardinal.

Many of us don’t have large financial legacies to leave our grandchildren: we can help to leave them a cleaner world – not to mention setting them an example of good stewardship.


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Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


A hearty "AMEN!" from the choir.

Thanks for the tip about leaving an inch of headroom when you freeze!

A good and timely reminder for us. Love the quilt photo.

And may I add Awomen!
Well said.
good words.

Thank you all for your comments. I thought of you all this morning as I washed out the recyclables--a job I hate, but feel virtuous about doing.

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