It seems that it’s bad news that sells.
On the other hand, the environment and eco friendly living rarely get a mention on the big news channels.
So I’m going to redress this imbalance.
Here are reports of ordinary people making a difference.
These are sure to warm your heart.
A group of students from Sun Valley Elementary School in San Rafael, California reflected on the number of coloured markers that they use throughout each year. These are not recycled and end up in landfill. They started a petition on Change.org to ask Crayola (one of the largest manufacturers of markers) to create a recycling program. Another marker manufacturer, Dixon Ticonderoga, saw the petition and started their own recycling program. (Who says kids can’t make a difference?).
Artist Catherine Eduard Charlot met a pastor in earthquake-ravaged Haiti who was struggling to educate the children in a low-income district. She wanted to help by raising money for a new school. She noticed that some of the tents provided as emergency accommodation after the earthquake, had reached end-of-life and were being discarded, ending up in landfill. So she made purses and handbags out of the discarded tents, and sold them to raise funds. She used what she was good at, to help children and the environment – a great story!
Buying from companies like these can make a difference. Clothing company United by Blue promises to remove 1 pound of waste from waterways for every product sold. They then recycle that waste – for example by partnering with Method who recycle plastic waste into soap bottles, and then fill them with eco friendly cleaning materials
Two non-profit organisations have come up with innovative ideas to help. Clean the World collects discarded hotel soaps and shampoos and distributes them to people in need. It’s a small thing but it can help to prevent the spread of disease. Cleaning for a Reason provides free professional house cleaning services to women undergoing cancer treatment, so that they have one less thing to worry about.
Rock Port, Missouri is a small town (pop 1,300) which is 100% wind powered. Everyone is delighted. Farmers lease small amounts of their land for the turbines and find the payback equivalent to cropping. The company generating the electricity from the 4 turbines pays real estate taxes which benefit the community. It is expected that there will be no increase in the electricity rates for the next 15-20 years (the expected life-span of the turbines). The excess electricity is sold to local utility companies, and there has been an increase in tourism.
When the city of Greensburg, Kansas was destroyed by a tornado in 2007, it was re-built as a “green town” with eco friendly and energy efficient buildings, a new farmers market and reclaimed lumber project. Visitors to the town can take a tour of the green sites, and stay in an eco home.
And finally, the power of numbers. A massive 6 million volunteers from 96 counties participated in a clean-up campaign during 2012 which removed 100,000 tons of rubbish. Special software used Google Maps to locate areas needing cleaning, and the whole project was web-driven.
I hope you enjoyed these success stories – they made my day!
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Photo Credit: United by Blue