If you could come up with a plan to save the environment, what would it be?
I live in Germany right now, and I have come to believe it's possible to keep a high standard of living while saving the environment.
The first thing I would do is mandate recycling in all American cities. Germans separate their trash into four categories on a daily basis: glass products, paper products, refuse, and "yellow sack" (includes metal, plastic, etc.). There is NO reason Americans can't do the same. To not recycle is pure laziness, no way around it.
The second thing I would do is invest heavily in alternative sources of fuel, including using a system of vouchers and credits for companies that invest in renewable portfolios. Why do neocons continue to mock wind, solar, and geothermal as sources of energy? All are used with great success in Europe. You can't drive 20 miles in Germany without seeing modern windmills. With all the "windboxes" and sun exposure we have in America, there is no reason not to draw on these sources of energy. And there are abundant sources of geothermal energy in the Mountain West. Many auto companies are already realizing the benefits of developing cars that run on hybrid engines or renewable fuels. This behavior needs to be encouraged.
Finally, I would invest heavily in public transportation. Again, I look to Europe as an example. Many European countries have excellent, reliable, and affordable public transportation. I believe many American cities also provide the same, but it needs to be more widespread.
None of this involves sacrificing standard of living, with the exception of giving up your gas guzzling SUV for a ride on a train or more ecologically designed car. And as time passes, those will become more viable options anyway.
"EVERYONE to preticpate on earth day" what good is that going to do? Picking up trash around the neighbourhood, whilst good, in not really going to save the planet. Using flashlights and candles is much worse for the environment than using a normal 60W lightbulb... still produces carbon dioxide (more per watt of light produced) and batteries produce acidic waste which will never degrade. It's a case of everyone insulating their homes as much as possible, not driving when you can walk or cycle, use public transport, cut out short haul flights, use wind and solar energy, go nuclear (for energy that is), stop packaging everything in plastic, use local produce to reduce carbon footprint for your food. I don't think that the luxury lifestyle many have come to expect can be sustained.
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I would stop people from using the earths resources for crap! I mean oil to make crap toys to get us to go and eat junk food ? what a waste. And coathangers for knickers? Even worse. Plastic bags and useless schools so that you have drive your kids to one miles away? And stop people all over the world from breeding so much! Why should anyone have the right to replace more than themselves when we are running out or everything? If we were animals there would have been a cull years ago.
mjax1979 - really good answer, I lived in germany also and have seen and lived an enviromentally respectful lifestyle. we continue it here. we moved to a neighborhood where we could walk or ride our bikes to the grocery, hardware store etc. we both drive prius' and only when necessary. we recycle, reuse and reduce. have a smaller house, don't go to fast food places, etc. it is easier that many people think. it just takes research, consideration and an effort.
ummm... to have EVERYONE and I mean, EVERYONE to preticpate on earth day!! I swear it should a holiday or something!! people shouldn't have to go to work or school, we should just pick up trash around the neirghbourhood, plant trees..ect oOoOo...and to be electricity friendly!! we should like turn of our lights for a certain time period everyday!! ahaha... honestly... I love it when I have blackouts!! it's fun getting out the candles and flashlights =)
my first step would be to get an environmentally friendly president into office. even one that admits to global warming would be an improvement. :)
Thanks, everyone, for your ideas. There are some really good ones. ~ Carol ~
Plant lots of trees.