Wed Jul 30 09:33:19 PDT 2008
Green is the Trendiest Color
To be fair, environmental awareness is nothing new. Celebrities have long championed the eco-friendly cause and politicians have casually tossed it around over the past few elections. But it seems now everyone is talking about saving the planet. I'm not a die-hard greenie, but I do think about what I can do to be kinder and gentler to our one and only Earth. I think it was sometime when I was in high school that Wisconsin made recycling mandatory. We set up bins in the basement and started washing out the tins cans, glass jars and plastic milk jugs. There wasn't as much room in my college apartment, but I continued the habit. When I moved to Kansas, I didn't have the space and it wasn't required, so the dirty tin cans went into the trash. Now, in our home, we've started to get back into it. We began a few years ago with newspapers - who knew they could pile up so quickly and it seemed such a waste to throw them in the trash can. Since we drive right past a recycling dropoff every day, we started a box to recycle the newspapers. Recently, we've added cardboard and plastic to the mix. We also discovered our cat food cans are aluminum, so we're holding those out, too. Couple that with switching out many of our lights to energy-efficient bulbs, and we're feeling pretty good. But like all good things, the hard part comes when the eco-friendly choice starts to come at a cost. For example, we use a wood-burning stove as once source to heat our home since we have a free supply of wood as we control our wooded area. It saves us a couple hundred bucks a month in heating costs, but burning, I'm told, isn't so good for the environment. It's a point of contention in Westar's latest rate increase request. The company says it's made big investments to lower pollution and increase efficiency. Sounds great - but what if that means our utility bills go up? Same with investments in wind and solar energy and nuclear power - will the consumers foot the bill for the big start-up costs? So tell me what you think - what do you do to be more eco-friendly....and what price are you willing to pay to go further?