Friday, January 23, 2009

Does it matter?

Recently, a reader asked "Are you optimistic about the future of the planet? About humankind's ability to fix the damage and take a greener path?" My initial thought was ... of course, every effort counts and we're making a difference. But then ... I began to really think about this and I wondered if that was the truth ... or if I just want it to be the truth.

In the fall I made a trip to Chicago ... it's a really nice city and has a lot going for it. Chicago has a wonderful mass transit system ... it's user friendly and convenient. Since parking is expensive and limited in the downtown area, walking is encouraged ... the sidewalks are wide and clean. Many establishments make use of revolving doors which have been proven to be energy efficient. On the other hand, the high rise buildings, across the street from where I stayed, left their lights and computers on all night. The Chicago River and Lake Michigan show signs of pollution ... as does the city in general. This isn't unique to Chicago but is a condition of most large cities.

In truth, the biggest threats to our environment are large companies and governments who won't make "green" changes.

But still ... there must be evidence that we're on the right path! So I went in search of it. Sadly, there isn't much. That may be because we are at the forefront of this effort and it simply takes time for things to change.

According to an article dated April 28, 2006 by the Environmental News Network, a report by the American Lung Association showed that there has been significant air quality improvement in the last decade. The report "found real improvement in air quality over much of the United States, due in part to reduced emissions from power plants." Researchers looked at the number of days deemed to have unhealthy air from 2002 to 2004, and compared it with the numbers from 1996 to 1998.

In an article dated January 23, 2008, a study was released that "indicated that water quality in the Egyptian segment of the River Nile improved considerably in the months of October and November 2007, giving rise to hopes that drinking water quality for many of Egypt’s 80 million people may improve. " This improvement came about by preventing industrial establishments from discharging their waste into the Nile.

So, there is hope. But what about our individual efforts ... do they matter? When we use environmentally friendly cleaning products in our homes and can breathe easier ... it matters. When we recognize a savings in the cost of water and energy or re-purpose an item instead of buying new ... it matters. And it matters, not only because of the immediate benefits we realize ... but because of the message we send. When we refuse to buy a product packaged in plastic we tell the manufacturers that it matters. When we vote for the candidate who seems to want cleaner fuel and sustainability, we tell the world that it matters. We have a voice and it can be heard through our actions. And let's face it ... as consumers, that voice is powerful.

My answer to the question is ... yes, I am optimistic about the future of the planet. I'm also confident about our individual efforts and their contribution to a better world. It may take awhile to see big results ... but they'll come. We just have to continue on the path!

On Monday, a guest author is going to share her thoughts on the subject ... I hope you'll stop by.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. After posting this article today, I came across more proof that our efforts are working. If you'd like to read the article, here's the address:

    Small Footprints

  2. I agree it does matter. The impact of one person deciding to make changes in the way they live can also impact others to do the same and they can impact others. Also for those of us with families, teaching your children these habits will ensure that as they grow they will hopefully be aware of their impact. Baby steps come first, giant leaps come with time and practice.

  3. Great post, SF!

    You know how I feel about individuals being able to make a difference; how else are we to do it? It is the only way to start.

    Recently we have seen what can happen when the people collectively decide to get something done (welcome President Obama!).

    We can do this too...But we all gotta do our part.


  4. Thanks for sharing this. It is important and it does matter. Thanks for these kind of reads. Take care and enjoy your weekend,

  5. Herr Here! Well said. Keep up the good work, Small!

  6. Thanks for answering my question and for sharing some good news. I think we are a crucial time in the life of the planet, and maybe some things are going to get worse before they start to get better...but I also worry it's too late for some things and many people just aren't worried or interested enough about it to change their ways - or perhaps they are just uninformed.

    But certainly everything we can do matters - every day I am thinking about little ways I can reduce my footprint, and your blog is a great source of ideas.

  7. I am going to keep doing what I am doing. I do believe that I, one little person can make a difference.

  8. I think the government plays a very critical role to greenify the earth... and it's comforting to know that there're some great green plans in President Obama's policies, which works at combating global warming and at the same time, creating job opportunities.

  9. It does matter

    and it is one of many reasons i have come to love the net that it enables all the people that care to be in touch right across this wonderful planet

    all the best andy thedafthermit

  10. The health of the planet is a collective responsibility, governments, corporations and individuals all have a role to play.

    Keep up the great work and thank for reminding us there is hope.

  11. I love coming by here ..always something to learn! :)

  12. Little by Little, it all adds up!
    I too agree with you that I feel it's optimistic about the future of the planet.

  13. I have a 13 year old grandson and I'm concerned about what my generation is going to leave him.

  14. It's been more than five years since the last time I drove my own car. It was so relieving to know that I'm not burning petrol to produce carbon monoxide (the Ozone's numero uno destroyer!).

    I hate flying also! Just imagine the enourmous amount of gasoline we need to burn to fly a plane!?

    There's hope for this planet! Let's just be frugal using resources especially those that hurts mother nature if we if we use them!

  15. I'm confident in Mother Earth too. :)

  16. If everyone would make a change then eventually it will all be worth it! Plus IAm so glad to see you posted an article from the American Lung Association. I get those daily. More so since my top lobe of my right lung has been removed. I am so glad to read where there has been improvements made.
    Take care and keep posting these great informative tips, ideas, etc.

  17. "it only takes one small step" to get the ball rolling. hello! so sorry, it has been awhile since i last came here. staying awhile to read up... how are you? stay happy, stay blessed and stay safe. ciao!

  18. I'm hopeful and then I see some a-hole get out of a car and toss his cup of soda from some fast food place right onto the ground like the world is his freakin garbage can. It makes me want to scream