"I feel like I work on my corner, somebody else works on theirs, and eventually we'll get it all cleaned up."
A while back I saw the quote above. It exactly fits my philosophy and while I couldn’t source it, I am grateful to whoever said it first.
I believe that environmental awareness starts at home. While our changing environment is a worldwide problem, most folks can do little to solve it on a global scale. Yet, if we break up the environment into smaller chunks, we can do something to change our personal environments: the quality of life in our homes and our cities. We can each take small steps that will result in an improvement. For instance, clean water.
Water is a pretty weighty commodity. A gallon of the stuff weighs 8.3 pounds, yet, the real weight of water is in how necessary it is to life. We drink it, cook in it, and bathe in it. Our plants need it to grow.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): "Up to 60 percent of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70 percent water, and the lungs are nearly 90 percent water. About 83 percent of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature. Each day humans must replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods eaten."
We have an R/O (reverse/osmosis) water system in our home because the chemicals our city uses to provide clean water leave a nasty taste behind. Our system is a water tank with special R/O filters that intakes the city water, cleans it, and dispenses it from a drinking water tap in our kitchen sink. The entire system costs less than $200.00 and it's well worth the price. It allows us to drink and cook with pure, clean water instead of having to purchase bottled water.
Still, wouldn’t it be marvelous if our cities didn’t have to infuse our water with chemical additives?
What makes water dirty? It’s easy to blame industry and agribusiness for dumping chemical waste into our rivers, but they aren’t the only ones to blame. I don't know how many times I've seen an illegal dump site as I walked through the woods or passed by one while driving: somebody’s broken appliances, old tires, or just full garbage bags dropped down a country hillside. All of the nasty crud in this unsightly waste seeps into our ground water. It would be a very small step to report a dumpsite to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), county authorities, or to find a group—better yet— create a group willing to clean it up.
These days, many states offer free advertising on road signs to groups that will "adopt a highway", Each group signs up to clean up a mile or more of trash along their adopted stretch of road. Their small steps help us all to not only preserve the purity of the ground water, but also to restore part of our world to its natural beauty.
Let Neil Armstrong’s quote be an inspiration to us all. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” doesn’t need to apply to space exploration. Let it apply to the small space you occupy on this earth.
It doesn’t take giant steps to be environmentally responsible. Start with small steps and see what giant strides you can make.