Greenhouse Gases

We always hear talk on the news about the effects of global warming and what we can do about it. There are lots of comments on what industry should do to reduce greenhouse gasses, but what can we as individuals do?

Sometimes, or perhaps more often than not, I get frustrated with all the talk of global warming and greenhouse gasses. Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with taking care of our environment, but there are two sides to every coin. All I ever hear about is politicians and activists criticizing large industries about emissions and pollutants. Of course, pollutants aren't a good thing, but we as citizens of this global community should all be involved and it shouldn't be limited to chastising some big company. Neither should it be about one country trading their pollution credits to another. Every single person on this earth is involved, but there's very little mention of that.

But what can we as individuals do for the environment? How can the actions of one person make a difference? One person in the world can't do all that much alone, but the collective actions of all of us doing a little is what will make a difference. We've all heard about reducing our use of non-recyclable products, cutting back energy use, and walking more, but there's more than just reduction - there's the other side of the coin.

Lowell Green once had a good commentary about this topic and read off the statistics on how much carbon dioxide each person produces in a year just by breathing. His comment, though somewhat cynical, was to stop breathing and we eliminate all our problems. Now we really can't stop producing carbon dioxide by breathing, but he did make a good point. We can do our part, not by reducing our carbon dioxide output, but by helping convert that carbon dioxide back into oxygen. Plants do that, and we can grow plants. Plants have always been good for the environment and they always will, at least if you keep them alive.

So how come nobody ever talks about plants to help clean up these greenhouse gasses? It is too obvious of an option? Is it just too simple? Or is it just not flashy enough for the media? Regardless of the reasons, it's completely valid. If all of us did our part and helped grow plants, we'd all be in better shape. This isn't a sales pitch, it's a reality.

Stop for a minute and look around you. How many plants do you have growing in your house? How about at your workplace? Or in your yard? Do you think you have enough to counter your breathing? We used to have very few plants in our house. There was always an excuse, but over time, we added more and more. It takes time and you need to keep them alive. As somebody who works in a Garden Centre, we're probably the worst and never bother to water our own indoor plants, but once you get into the habit, it's nice to have them around. We're up to nine plants in our living room, five in our kitchen and entry way, and another five in our bathroom. It started with one and went up from there. I've killed more than my share of houseplants getting to this point, but I've never given up and I don't intend to. I like plants in my house. It makes me feel good.

Regardless of all the political reasons or environmental pushes in the media, we're not the only ones on this earth so we should learn to live with our environment and not replace it. Let's all do our part and replace some of the plants we've displaced just through our existence. There's no reason for humans to take over the world when we could very easily live in harmony with Mother Nature, not only outdoors but indoors, too.

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