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  • Valerie Just

Humans risk living in an empty world, warns UN biodiversity chief

My son, John, shared a post on Facebook today, and I thought it was important to share. Bear with me as I get to the real meat of my blog!

His commentary on Facebook relayed, "We're basically going to be Charn from C.S. Lewis' books".

Regrettably, I've never read the C.S. Lewis' books - but I know John has either read the books to my granddaughter, or had her read the books to him. So, I had to look up what meaning "Charn" had in reference to the books. Here is what I found on Wikipedia:

Charn is a fictional city appearing in the 1955 book, The Magician's Nephew, the sixth book published in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, written as a prequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Charn, and the world of which it is the capital city, are the birthplace of Jadis, also known as the White Witch, who later seizes control of Narnia. When visited briefly by Digory and Polly, the protagonists of the novel, the city is totally deserted, lifeless and crumbling, under a dying sun. Rivers have dried up, and neither weeds nor insects live. All life on the world of Charn had been destroyed by Jadis through an evil magic spell. In the novel, the city stands as an example of the dead end that can result if a civilization succumbs to evil.

John shared a link to an article published on January 20, 2020, in The Guardian, written by Patrick Greenfield. It was published the day before the World Economic Forum, which is happening this week.

It is painful for me to read articles such as this one - it is depressing and alarming. But, for me, the most troublesome element, and the reason that I get depressed in reading these articles, is the feeling of helplessness and lack of control I feel in even being able to make a difference in the final outcome of planet Earth.

I need to continually remind myself that we can make a difference, even in small ways. So let's start out small, and attempt to eliminate plastic from our daily lives. A quote to motivate by Margaret Mead:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Here are some tips:

Tips to Use Less Plastic

Check out these easy ways you can start reducing your waste in your every day life! Did you know that of the 30 million tons of plastic waste generated in the US in 2009, only 7 percent was recovered for recycling? Here are 17 ways to reduce your plastic waste:

  1. Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw

  2. This video might motivate you to stop using straws.

  3. Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often!

  4. Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic.

  5. Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.

  6. Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging.

  7. Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.

  8. Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop

  9. Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use styrofoam.

  10. Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter.

  11. Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you'll be eating fewer processed foods!

  12. Don't use plasticware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.

  13. Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.

  14. The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby's carbon footprint and save money.

  15. Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It's healthier and better for the environment.

  16. Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.

  17. Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.

  18. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor

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