Conservation and Recycling


Recently, I read an interesting article in the New York Times Opinion section from Hansjörg Wyss, a Wyoming philanthropist and conservation supporter. I had never heard of Wyss before. He’s a philanthropist who was born in Switzerland where he founded the medical device company Synthes.  He now lives in Wyoming. What caught my eye about the article was the headline We Have to Save the Planet. So I’m Donating $1 Billion.

The article speaks about the support he has given in recent years to help protect wild places in Africa, South America, Europe, Canada, Mexico and the United States. He has a foundation that has donated more than $450 million to help those countries conserve nearly 40 million acres of land and water. Wyss believes that we need to protect large areas of land for conservation efforts, as the best approach to  a healthy future.

Indeed, the food, clean water and air we need to survive and prosper depends on our ability to protect the planet’s biological diversity. In other words, we have to protect half to save the whole.

Wyss will give the money over the next decade  to help accelerate land and ocean conservation efforts around the world.

The money will support locally led conservation efforts around the world, push for increased global targets for land and ocean protection, seek to raise public awareness about the importance of this effort, and fund scientific studies to identify the best strategies to reach our target.

I applaud Mr. Wyss for that generosity and hope that his efforts are not in vain. But his efforts don’t leave us off the hook. We can all do our small parts to try to save out planet for our kids and grandkids.

Here is a list of some things we can all do. Not every item on the list will appeal to all of us, but we can at least pick several and make a conscious effort to stick with a plan. I got this list from a website Nature’sPath.

  1. Stop eating meat (or at least reduce it). …
  2. Stop eating dairy. …
  3. Change your car driving habits. …
  4. Notice how you use water. …
  5. Reduce the amount of paper in your life. …
  6. Use a refillable water bottle and reusable lunch containers. …
  7. Be mindful of what you throw in the trash. …
  8. Bag it yourself.

I have reduced the amount of red meat I eat, but did that more from a dietary need than thinking about conservation. Unfortunately, I still eat a lot of dairy.

For some time I’ve been conscious of driving habits, trying to consolidate errands, so I’m only going out two or three times a week in the car.

I’ve been really conscious of water use for years. Turning off the water while brushing my teeth, then turning it back on to rinse. Taking shorter showers than I used to. Collecting rain water to use for watering plants.

Going paperless has been slowly happening for me. I’ve signed up for paperless billing and correspondence with banks, but I haven’t done that for every place where I do business. However, I try to not use many paper towels, using rags instead, and I have almost stopped using paper plates. Or Styrofoam.

I love my Yeti cup. Need I say more?

When I remember to grab the canvas bags, I use them for grocery shopping, as well as other shopping.

And, not on the list, but high on my list, is recycling. I am conscientious about recycling everything that qualifies. When I lived out in the country I had to drive to town to take my items to the recycling center, and the items they would accept was limited. Here in Sherman, there is city recycling, and they accept glass, tin, and some Styrofoam, as well as plastics, aluminum and paper.

Are you making efforts to recycle and conserve? Please share what you’re doing and offer some tips we might not be aware of. 

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