Earth Day 2013: Small changes for a better planet

Olympic Peninsula 2009In his Earth Day message from April 2012, the Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche warns that “our future is at a crossroads.”

“It is no longer a time when the future can be decided by one person, or even a few individuals,” he says in his message. “Rather, as a global society, we must pause and reflect on this essential theme: who are we, and what are we doing? This is the meaning of Earth Day.”

One of the many ways we can contribute to creating an enlightened society is by being good stewards of the Earth. On this Earth Day, I would like to share a few things that we all can do in our daily practice to help not only our local community but our global community as well.

Starting a recycling campaign in your home today. Most communities around the Dallas/Ft Worth area have recycling campaigns in place. Dallas residents can visit for more information about how to get involved.

Reduce or eliminate bottled water consumption. Bottled water wastes fossil fuels in production and transport. Bottled water production in the United States used the energy equivalent of 32 and 54 million barrels of oil to produce and transport plastic water bottles in 2007—enough to fuel about 1.5 million cars for a year. Tap water in the United States is subject to more stringent federal safety regulations than bottled water.  Federal, state, and local environmental agencies require rigorous testing of tap water safety and make test results available to the public.

You can also be mindful when working in the yard.  Don’t fertilize before a rain storm. Your fertilizer – along with your money – can just wash off your lawn and down the storm drain. Fertilizer runoff can pollute rivers, lakes, and bays, and cause problems in recreational areas or fishing grounds. Check the weather forecast before you head out, and wait for the storm to pass.

Take advantage of the new DART routes!  Use public transportation, carpool, walk, or bike whenever possible to reduce air pollution and save on fuel costs. Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,600 pounds per year. If you can work from home, you’ll reduce air pollution and traffic congestion – and save money. Visit for more information.

These are just a handful of ways we can be more Earth-friendly and reduce the environmental stress on our planet.  If you have any ideas on how we can be more environmentally aware at the center level, please share them with me.



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