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Waste Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

| 10/21/2010 4:00:30 PM

A visit to the farmers market here in town is a perfect way to spend an early morning in October for both locals and out-of-town visitors.

Early morning at the farmers' market

The day could not have been more beautiful. Bright, sunny, and warm for October, it was the most perfect of days for my family to get trashy in public. Oh, we’ve been trashy for years, but it’s always been at home, and never in full view for all the world to see…or at least everyone who was at the farmer’s market that day.

As part of’s “10/10/10 Global Work Party,” I volunteered to save our family’s recycling for one month as a good visual to show what a typical family of four can do to help reduce the carbon level in the atmosphere in just a very short time. It was displayed at a recycling booth set up by a group of volunteers concerned about the world’s climate change issue.

In Harlem, New York City and in Auckland, New Zealand, white roof projects took place. High school students in Toronto, Canada had a “Pack a Waste-free Lunch” day. In Taiwan, 350 people flew 350 white kites emblazoned with the number 350 in the skies over Taipei for the price of telling 10 people about the importance of the number 350. That’s 3,500 more people made aware of the climate change issue! Community gardens were started, solar panels installed, trees planted, and beaches cleaned of trash. These are just a handful of 7,347 events in 188 countries that took place on October 10th, or thereabout.

What’s all the hoopla over the number 350? Until about 200 years ago, 275 parts per million of carbon dioxide was contained in the earth’s atmosphere. In the 18th century, with the ever-increasing consumption of coal, gas, and oil used to produce energy and goods, atmospheric carbon levels began to rise, slowly at first, and then more dramatically as the need for those goods and energy increased. Right now the level hovers around 390 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. Scientists say that 350 parts per million is the highest safe level of carbon that will allow the earth to sustain itself in an equilibrium without global climate change progressing any. On 10/10/10 communities across the globe worked in effort to reach the 350 goal by spreading the message that climate change is a serious issue that needs attention.

Cindy Murphy
10/24/2010 8:29:32 AM

Hey, Michelle! Good for your grandchildren's schools for having a recycling program! Teaching children the importance of things like recycling and stewardship of the earth is imperative. Like Dave said, we don't want it destroyed on our watch....or the next generation's either! Regarding your comment about the lady spiders...I wouldn't want to be one. There are times that Hubs "bugs" me, but I can't imagine having him on the dinner menu. "Leg of Man?" "Filet of Soul" maybe? "Macaroni and Keith" - bluck!!! Hugs backatcha!

Cindy Murphy
10/24/2010 8:10:08 AM

Thanks for your comments, Dave. It's great that your entire neighborhood recycles. It's always kind of puzzled me that so few here do (although some in our group said on their streets the percentage is higher). One of our possible goals for next year is to get 350 more families in town to recycle. We've always recycled, but saving it for a month, and keeping a tab on what went in there was an eye-opener for me. Some things that we could have been recycled weren't always making it into the bin - small things like junk mail, for example. And the plastics - I had no idea we used so much plastic! But many times you have no choice but to buy plastic; products sold in glass containers seem rare at the grocery. How are we ever going to decrease our dependency on petroleum if everything is made out of plastic? "So do we throw up our hands and give up?" You've said a mouthful there! That's what's so cool about - it's ordinary people coming together in your neighborhood and mine, and all across the world, trying to do something positive for the planet. Then maybe one day I'll look down my street and see a recycling bin in front of every house, and there won't be trash burning alongside the roads in South America.

Michelle House
10/23/2010 11:58:38 AM

I did not know about that 350, very interesting.Here at my grands grade school they do recycling,and we have a couple of site around town, to take stuff to. Very nice article,and thanks for the links. Oh, yeah, that spider story for last week. LOL, at the lady spider. Hugs Michelle

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