Meryl Greer Domina Meryl Greer Domina, June 25, 2015

It is good that we are putting pressure on Enbridge and other fossil fuel companies and that we are also working on divesting our money away from them.  But the most important job we have, the one that will convince the corporations and our government we are serious about changing is for us to stop consuming their products.  We need to reduce the amount of fossil fuel we use individually and collectively.  How can we do this?

That is a question that is easy to answer, but much harder to actually do.  We need to change our lifestyles so that we do not consume so much energy.  This means we must travel less, especially drive less, and use vehicles that have high miles per gallon.  The first step is to group your errands so you drive less.  More important steps are to use bicycles and public transportation.

We must eat fruits and vegetables that are grown locally when ever possible.  We should encourage our grocers to first purchase fruits and vegetables that are grown locally and then seek the closest markets; grocers should return to buying from Florida, Texas, and California instead of buying cheaper produce that is grown in Asia.  A tremendous amount of energy is used in shipping cargo from one place to another—more energy is used to bring an apple from Washington to DeKalb than those from Jonamac Orchards in Malta or even those from Michigan.  Shipping foods from Asia greatly increases carbon emissions.

Since it is summer, check out the Farmers’ Markets.  DeKalb has one on Thursdays from 10 am through 2:00 pm. It is located at Van Buer Plaza, 2nd and Locus Streets.  Sycamore’s Farmers’ Market is Tuesdays from 3:00 pm – 7:00, located at Somonauk & Elm Streets.

It is important for us to reduce the amount of stuff we purchase.  Think about whether each item is really needed before buying it.  Is it something that you really need?  Do you have somewhere to use it and somewhere to store the item?  If not don’t buy it.  Some of us will have to look for new hobbies to fill their time.  Plant a vegetable garden, and if you have room, a few fruit trees.  Take a walk with a friend to the park or to an ice cream shop instead of going shopping at a mall.  I will post more specific suggestions through my future blogs and feel free to offer your own suggestions!

Change is not easy but it is important that we do move forward to lifestyles that do not require fossil fuels.  As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”

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350 is the measure of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. Our ability to rapidly reduce this critical number will determine our ability to survive on Earth.