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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2005
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MY LIFE
Angie Gilchrist

Caring for your "other" mother

Earth Day is Friday. What are you going to do for your other "mother" to let her know you care? I recycle cans, paper and all sorts of things, but I'm trying to figure out what more I can do to help.

Some people think that taking care of the environment is too hard and takes too much time, while others don't care and don't want to adjust their lives to preserve the earth. The latter mentality will leave future generations with not much of the outdoors to enjoy.

What can you do to help that won't be too much of a hassle? Simple things from recycling a soda can to turning the water off when brushing your teeth are great ways to be good to the earth.

Recycling adapts items to be reused in a different manner. A recycled piece of notebook paper could later be part of a Hallmark card or a Rolling Stone magazine. Turning off the water when brushing your teeth may not seem significant, but as much as 5 gallons of water runs from faucets every two minutes, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If the water is going to run, why waste it?

If you want to do more than recycle cans and reduce water waste, try alternate modes of transportation when going somewhere. Riding a bike, walking and skating instead of driving prevents pollution from infiltrating our skies and rivers. Not only are these forms of transportation better for the environment, they're good exercise.

Carpooling benefits the earth. Riding with others is better for the environment because it reduces pollutants from cars. Don't forget the financial incentive with gas prices on the rise.

Need more of a challenge? Reduce waste by buying foods in one large bag and using Tupperware containers to store single servings. Food packaging is waste that remains in landfills for years.

Take recycling to the next level by going to a drop-off center or calling the company that picks up your trash to find out what can be recycled. You'll be surprised by what is accepted. Cardboard, plastic milk jugs and newspapers can be recycled into other products. At the entrance of most Wal-Mart and Publix stores, you can find a box to recycle unwanted plastic bags. Publix even has a bin for foam egg cartons.

Try reusing things. You can use a sturdy paper bag as well as the hundreds of plastic bags you get from grocery stores. Getting secondary use out of containers that hold sour cream and yogurt prevents waste from sitting in landfills.

Being good to the environment doesn't have to be an inconvenience or a nuisance. Doing what you can, when you can is helpful. If you want to do more, go for it. Each contribution, big or small, matters.

Angie Gilchrist, 25, is a Somerville resident who works as a copy editor at THE DECATUR DAILY.

Angie Gilchrist Angie Gilchrist

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