I use canvas grocery bags (OK, sometimes). I primarily buy cruelty free products, recycle at work and contribute a small stipend each month to purchase a portion of my energy from green sources. My daughter and I are protectors of snails in danger of being squashed on sidewalks and we let no six-pack plastic ring go uncut. We care. Somehow I convinced myself that was enough.
Recently I had the opportunity to watch Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, documenting the state of Earth’s global-warming condition due to greenhouse gases. Educated as a scientist, I appreciated the wealth of hard data Gore had compiled, but what brought me to weep, as if I had lost someone I loved, was the manner in which he gave meaning to the data. Under the layers of percentages, charts and graphs, the exposed bloody heart of his message beat as loud as Ichabod Crane’s. Everything I love, everything that is dear to me, is at stake.
Everything I do is for my daughter. And for the first time I realized that none of it will matter if her ability to live on Earth is not sustained or if I leave her a planet where the fresh water supply for millions is gone, where she’ll face unbearably hot summers, an Arctic with no ice, and, in turn, warmer oceans, a teetering marine ecosystem and higher sea levels that will swallow coastal communities worldwide in one gulp. And will she walk upon a barren Earth, void of the rich species we have today? If these are the legacies I leave to my daughter, I will have realized my greatest failure as a parent.
Global warming is the result of a worldwide dependency on fossil fuels. However, America contributes slightly more than 30 percent of the problem. Here’s what happens in bustling American homes much like my own. Unnecessary lights are left on, a few notches on the thermostat are chosen over a heavier sweater, the TV is alive, the radio hums, the dishwasher and dryer are rumbling at peak hours, and, “Shoot! I need to run to the store in my.