tread lightly e-course: transition to a sustainable lifestyle with the earth charter!
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DESCRIPTIONTread Lightly E-Course: Transition to a Sustainable Lifestyle with the Earth Charter!. Session 3 Compiled by Jaana Laitinen Earth Charter International Youth Facilitator. All of us leave traces wherever we go: some are large, others are small; some are ugly, and others are beautiful. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
Tread Lightly E-Course:Transition to a Sustainable Lifestyle with the Earth Charter! Session 3
Compiled by Jaana Laitinen Earth Charter International Youth Facilitator
All of us leave traces wherever we go: some are large, others are small; some are ugly, and others are beautiful.
Our ecological footprints depend on our lifestyles. In other words, they depend on how much water and energy we use and whether or not we acquire large quantities of unnecessary things.
For example, if we consume a lot of styrofoam and plastic things, we leave a larger footprint than someone who consumes things made of paper or cloth. This is because making things out of plastic and styrofoam requires a lot more energy, and they have a much slower decomposition rate.
What type of footprint do you want to leave?
It is important to note that from the beginning of history until 1900, world population only reached 1.5 billion inhabitants. However, by 2000 this figure had drastically increased to 6 billion.
In addition to the population increase over the past fifty years, global production and consumption have also excessively increased. Due to Earths limited capacity, this has drastically impacted our ecosystems. Therefore, we should be responsible and change our lifestyles.
Latest official current world population estimate, for mid-year 2010, is estimated at 6,852,472,823.
The greater the population of our planet becomes, the more products are required to fulfill our needs. This means that more resources need to be extracted.
Furthermore, with the consumeristic lifestyles common to our society, the consequences also include an increase in solid waste.
The dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of species. Communities are being undermined. The benefits of development are not shared equitably and the gap between rich and poor is widening. Injustice, poverty, ignorance, and violent conflict are widespread and the cause of great suffering. An unprecedented rise in human population has overburdened ecological and social systems.
Do you agree that environmental destruction and species extinctions are caused by overproduction and overconsumption?
The choice is ours: form a global society to care for Earth and one another or risk the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life. Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions, and ways of living. We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.Preamble of the Earth Charter
In order to have a sustainable future and for all life forms to live well, human beings need to change their attitudes. If we all commit to contributing to the common wellbeing, not only for current generations but also for future generations, it will be easier to create a better world.
We must understand that the way we care for our environment, as well as our daily attitudes, largely determine whether future generations will be able to enjoy our planets natural resources and all its beauty.
Even though we cannot always control or change our life circumstances, we can still at least make changes in ourselves and in our attitudes. We can also choose actions which are based in values and principles that improve our relationship with the environment. Changing our attitudes means modifying the way we think and the way we see and perceive things. This is achieved through increasing knowledge and raising awareness. Developing values implies practicing ethical actions which improve the relationship between and amongst individuals and their environment. This accomplishment requires a greater coherence between our values and attitudes.
Adopt patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction that safeguard Earth's regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being. Principle 7
We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more. We have the knowledge and technology to provide for all and to reduce our impacts on the environment. Preamble
EnergyAct with restraint and efficiency when using energy, and rely increasingly on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Human beings need a large amount of energy to live: at home we use energy to cook, iron, watch television, listen to music, keep food fresh in the refrigerator, heat up the shower, light up our rooms
Everything we buy and use is related to energy, because energy is always needed in some form or another during fabrication. It is important to realize that a large portion of our global energy consumption goes toward the production of cars, clothes, home artifacts, and buildings. These products also require energy to be transported from one country to another. Many of our products come from other countries!
Society today depends more and more on energy that causes severe, and often irreversible, damage to natural resources. Generating energy is the single most polluting industry!
The various types of energy include: solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, and biofuels, amongst others. Unfortunately, our excessive use some types of energy is destroying our planet at an alarming rate.
In order to conserve our natural resources and benefit the planet, we must modify our lifestyles and save energy. This also results in financial savings, improving our household economic situations.
What can I do? Try to wash in a cool or cold water, not hot. Wash only full loads.Use energy saving setting.Do not frequently open the refrigerator, because this wastes a lot of energy and the food does not stay fresh as long. Make sure that fridge has tight seals and set on optimum temperatures.Turn off the lights, the radio, sound system, and television when you are not using them. Use 50, 60, and 70 watt lightbulbs, because they consume less energy.Iron all your clothes at one time, so that you do not turn the iron frequently on and off.Turn off the hot water showerhead when soaping up. This saves electricity and also potable water.Use your hair dryer as little as possible.
assess your personal electricity needs
turn it off!
Making clothes is a seriously polluting business. The clothing industry is energy intensive, requiring the transportation of raw materials and finished products around the world. Its natural-resource intensive, with the production of synthetic fibers from petroleum products, and environmentally impactful, with releases of toxic bleaches, dyes and finishes.All-cotton t-shirt -> cotton exhaust the soil, and uses 25% of the world's pesticides, making it the most pesticide-intensive crop?The production of man-made fibers is even more harmful to the environment. Hemp produces 250% more fiber than cotton, using virtually no pesticides. At the same time the crop leaves the soil rich in nitrogen deposits, increasing yields on rotational crops such as soybeans and corn. Sweatshops - any workplace where workers are subject to extreme exploitation. This includes hazardous working conditions, benefits, dignity and basic human rights.
What can I do? Vote with your pocketbook! Choose clothing made from natural fibers. Join with groups working to change the way fibers are grown Ask around! Consumers will create awareness of organic fabrics simply by inquiring if they are available. Dont buy sweatshop clothes
We spend lots of time in home. Unfortunately many conventional home products may be hurting our health rather than improving our quality of life. Many conventional cleaning products leave indoor air polluted with a toxic smog and the synthetic fragrances used to mask them. These are dangerous to health. The chemicals used can cause headaches, dizziness, watery eyes, repiratory problems, rashes, sneezing, other allergic reactions... A Spanish study 2003 surveyed more than 4000 women and found that 25% of asthma cases in the group were attributable to domestic cleaning work.
Small is greener!uses fewer raw materials requires less energy to cool or heatconsumes fewer natural resourcesproduces less wastegreen homes provide healthier indoor air qualitybuy used furniture
FoodThe resilience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depend upon preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air. Preamble
Chemical pesticide use continues to rise - they have been implicated in cancers, lowered fertility, and other reproductive changes in humans and wildlife.
A Swedish study considered the ingredients of a typical Swedish breakfast - apple, bread, butter, cheese, coffee, cream, orange juice, and sugar - and determined that to reach a breakfast table, these foods travel a mighty long way. The mileage estimated for the meal was equivalent to the circumference of the Earth.
More than 90% of the world swordfish, marlin, giant tuna, and other large predatory fishes have been caught by far-roaming industrial fishing fleets - making a collapse of those stocks possible.
The most contaminated conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, strawberries, butter, cantaloupe, cucumbers/pickles, meatloaf, peanuts, popcorn, radishes, summer squash, and winter squash. Buy these organic!Perhaps you dont eat these often -> what ever you eat most, t