By Laura Timby, Climate Change Committee

It’s on the news everywhere, all the time. Dire predictions regarding the results of Climate Change also referred to as Global Warming. Not everyone agrees on whether its real or some made up scare tactic, but the general consensus of the Scientific Community is that it is real and happening, regardless of what it is called. Rarely a day passes without some news report of increasingly devastating storm events. Whether it is an unimaginably fierce hurricane or tornado, catastrophic flooding, frequent devastating earthquakes, deadly droughts, new records snowfalls, or soaring temperatures that threaten all life on earth, as we know it, it appears to be occurring with increased frequency. Disturbing? Frightening? Yes indeed, and on a scale that makes an individual wonder what they can possibly do to stop or slow the progression of this trend?

Margaret Mead was a well-known American cultural anthropologist in the 60’s and 70’s. One of her more publicized quotes goes like this: “Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Wow! What a powerful and intriguing message. It gives me goose bumps! Very much the same way as when I think of Ozark Society founder, Dr. Neil Compton’s most notable quote: ” The challenge goes on. There are other lands and rivers, other wilderness areas to save and to share with all. I challenge you to step forward to protect and care for the wild places you love best.”

Are we up for the challenge to care for and protect our Mother Earth? Here are a few ideas that may not seem like much but when practiced by an individual, and then by a few more people, and then by a community or city or state, can actually be part of the solution. Want to try? Here goes. Begin by eliminating the number of plastic items that you incorporate into your daily life. Plastic bags, bottles, containers and products of all kinds, are becoming increasingly difficult to dispose of in a conscientious way, and actually, can never be successfully recycled or completely broken down. Glass is a much better option, as well as bamboo. Styrofoam is another product we should try to minimize or eliminate entirely from our lives. It never completely biodegrades. Have you ever walked along the shoreline of the ocean, a lake or river and spied thousands of little white balls and wondered what it was? Unfortunately, that is Styrofoam. Ugh! Use reusable bags when shopping. Buy organic food and personal products. Organic food tastes better and when grown organically does not rely on petroleum-based fertilizers. Organic personal cares products are better for you and do not rely on petroleum based chemical additives. Grow your own organic garden. Grass clippings, weeds from your lawn and flower beds, leaves from your trees (or your neighbors) can all be composted to produce the most amazingly rich and beneficial soil for your gardens.

One might wonder where do all these products originate? The common denominator is Petroleum. That is, “Bubblin’ Crude, Black Gold, Texas Tea.” Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the Beverly Hillbilly theme song! Our continuous consumption of petroleum, in its many forms, is one of the chief contributors to the warming and pollution of our planet. It may be a hard habit to break but with determination we can make a start in the right direction to heal our planet and ourselves. Just think of the wisdom of Margaret Mead and Dr. Compton if you need inspiration and encouragement. Mother Earth will thank you.