Today marks the 3rd Annual Blog Action Day. And, yeah, we usually reserve this space for cool photos and chatter about the fun we’re having with our photo shoots, but if we can turn you on to making a few positive changes, it’s worth our time to throw in a blog posting that’s not quite our usual.
We’ve all heard about Global Climate Change. We’re Portlanders, and we’re billed as one of the nation’s leaders in the green revolution, so of course we know what’s happening. Being trapped in our homes under a blanket of snow during last December’s two-week Snow-pocalypse was certainly a clue that the climate’s shifting.
There are those who would say that climate change is “normal,” that there isn’t a problem, and that we should just keep on consuming and burning through resources. On the other side of the room, there are those who say that the problem is catastrophic, we’ve already gone too far, and we cannot possibly save ourselves from the deadly global warming that lies in wait for us in the year 2050. (or sooner, depending on how pessimistic the speaker’s feeling today)
But, what if ALL of those people are wrong? What if there is a problem, but it’s something we can fix? If it’s even possible for us to make an impact, to take control of our fate, what are we doing arguing about whether or not there’s a problem?
So, in the interest of thinking more positively, let’s assume that the game’s not over. There are a lot of things we can do to help minimize the damage and live responsibly, and a lot of these things might even make your life more enjoyable. And if you can have a strong, beautiful planet *and* be healthy and at peace enough to fully enjoy it? You can’t do much better than that.
These are just a few ideas.
Change your commute. Sure, moving house is a pain… but then again, so is that 45-minute-each-way commute you’re making 5 or more days a week. If you can move closer to your job, you’d save yourself time and save the world from the excess gas emissions. Or, if you’re self-employed, consider moving your office! We’re moving our studio closer to home, cutting our travel time in half. Now’s a great time to rent, so check out the options.
Or, you can eliminate all of your emissions by riding your bike around town instead of driving. Portland is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, so take advantage! Or, if your bike is out of commission, there’s always public transportation.
Shop Local. There’s a reason why we support initiatives like the 3/50 Project, and it’s not just about the local economy. Shopping local means less packaging, less waste, and almost NO shipping or travel. Buy your clothing from local designers, buy your housewares from local merchants and providers, buy your food at the local farmer’s market. The cool part is that, since we’re in Portland, a lot of the locally-sourced things you could be buying come from companies who already exercise green practices, and use sustainable materials.
Just through the process of building our business, we’ve worked with designers who use organic materials, and we’ve learned of green print services, bicycle-powered delivery companies, and even wind-powered web hosting, all coming out of Portland. And food from local farmers tastes amazing. We’re lucky to live in a place where so many businesses are looking to make a difference.
Spruce up your home. Is it drafty in your living room? Are you still using incandescent light bulbs? Have you been itching to start up a garden? Take a couple hours on a weekend to make your house a friendlier place to live: switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. Put up insulation and weather stripping. Use the fireplace instead of the heater (or put on an extra sweater!). Clear out a space in your backyard and plant some tasty veggies.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try cutting down on your trips to the faucet by capturing rainwater. We do live in one of the rainiest parts of the country. There are some very innovative ideas that are only a Google search away, and they’ll make your home a better place to live.
Speak up. Use your voice to tell your representatives that these issues matter to you. Take a few of the minutes you’d spend playing Mafia Wars on Facebook, and use them to tell your friends about the changes you believe in. Use your money to buy eco-friendly products, and let the bigwig companies and corporations know that you want to buy products that are organic, sustainable, and affordable.
There you go. A few little things that you lovely Portlanders can start doing today, and make into habits. Yeah, we’re not all up for going completely off-the-grid and making radical changes to our lives, but just a couple small steps at a time can decrease our impact on the planet.
You can handle it. We all can. And we all should.
…and, just so we don’t veer completely away from photography, here’s one of Ben’s nightscapes… which is the kind of photo he won’t be able to capture, if we don’t take action. There’s a wealth of natural beauty in the world. Let’s do our best to preserve it.