Help Mother Earth with a well-deserved gift


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Everyone can make a difference. Just ask Jane Goodall.

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you,’’ Goodall said. “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

That puts our actions in perspective.

With so many things happening in our lives, being bombarded about plastic pollution, food contamination, food waste, a recycling crisis, deforestation, water pollution, air pollution and species extinction, it can be overwhelming.

These are big issues — why should we even bother? How can an ordinary person help curb any of these pressing issues?

We live in a special place that is worth every effort to preserve.

In 2016, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) identified the North American Coastal Plain as a biodiversity hotspot. It was the latest to be added to the list of hotspots on Earth.

  By definition, a biodiversity hotspot is an area that contains at least 1,500 species of vascular plants found nowhere else on Earth. This is known as an endemic species. It also has to have lost at least 70 percent of its primary native vegetation, according to cepf.net.

Florida is home to more than 2,840 native or naturalized vascular plants with an endemism rate of almost 30 percent. More than 270 species of birds native to the North American Coastal Plain are 2.2 percent endemic. Of the 306 species of native mammals, 114 are endemic to the area.

There are 293 species of native reptiles, 113 of which are endemic. Fifty-seven of the 122 species of native amphibians are endemic. There are 424 species of freshwater fish, with 138 endemic to the hotspot.

All of Florida lies in the North American Coastal Plain, which means that Florida has a unique and rich environment. It also means Florida is in trouble since at least 70 percent of its natural habitat is gone.

Taking into account that 36 hotspots have been identified, Earth is in a bit of a jam.

So, as a gift to Mother Earth, here are a few ways anyone can help generate some positive impact:

Avoid disposable containers and packaging. Bring your own reusable bag, cup, bottle and containers. Pack snacks and lunch in reusable containers. Say no to straws and buy in bulk.

• Know what you feed your body. Read labels to avoid harmful or unsustainable ingredients such as additives, palm oil and microplastics. Buy in-season and organic foods. Prepare what you eat. Cut down on the meat you eat or become a vegetarian or vegan.

• Practice no excess. Put on your plate what you know you can eat. Buy enough, but not more. Buy recycled or second hand; donate, don’t waste.

• Recycle what you can. Learn what can be recycled in your area. Take electronics and hard-to-recycle or reusable materials to Recycle Brevard (RecycleBrevard.org). Compost in some section of the backyard.

• Conserve and keep water clean. Install a dual-flush system; turn off the tap when it’s not in use; fix leaks; adjust sprinklers; use rain barrels; wipe off greasy dishes before washing them; use a car wash service; remember not to flush biodegradable bags or wipes; and follow local fertilizer ordinances.

• Save energy. Use cold water for laundry and dishes; clean washer and air filters; unplug or turn off what’s not in use; switch to solar.

• Go native and local. Plant native plants and trees; shop at local farmers markets; walk and bike whenever you can.

Review the list and challenge yourself. Start your journey now. Jane Goodall said, “the greatest danger to our future is apathy.” 

Email Marcia Booth at Marcia@
RecycleBrevard.org.