Pick Up Your Path is taking a new route.
It has always seemed to me that the personal efforts any of us make to control litter and trash are part of a vastly larger environmental picture. (It’s just that us cleaner uppers take a more ‘hands on’ approach since picking up trash is something we can do – and be successful at – as individuals.)
The assumption here is that if you care enough to put junk in a bag or recycle bin, you also give a damn about the persistent self-inflicted harm we cause to our home world: undeniable global warming, water and air pollution, a go-slow approach toward clean energy, lip service to sustainability, the decline and misuse (and hoarding) of resources, low recycling rates, the status of threatened or near-extinct species, et al. Not to mention government/individual/corporate environmental inaction, lapses in judgment and/or missteps, etc.
So, as of today, we’ll begin to go off road with broader coverage of the environment from a variety of sources. You can expect snippets of who’s doing what and state/national/world tidbits on assorted topics.
It’s been many months since the last post that announced a pending sea change to this blog and believe me, I’ve thought a lot about how the content ought to be amended and improved to reflect litter control’s place in the environmental scheme. No doubt these so-called upgrades will be nickled-and-dimed as we go along.
As for my own daily walks that are part exercise/part trash control, please know my bagging of litter and junk has continued daily without interruption. You’ll still be subjected to the sordid images of what is corraled. What better way to showcase our mistreatment of our neighborhoods and cities?
And there’s one other thing won’t change: Please send me photos of your trash abatement efforts and any other environmental news you think should be called out. Where you live doesn’t matter; just send me what you can to firstname.lastname@example.org.
But let’s get started.
POLLUTED AIR KILLS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES
Bad air kills 9,320 of people a year in the U.S. according to an August 11 article in the Charlotte Observer.
By comparison, alcohol-related traffic accidents accounted for 9,967 deaths in 2014.
This is according to the American Thoracic Society, the “leading medical association of repiratory disease secialists” reports the Observer. The Society is calling for tougher enforcement of air quality standards.
Of interest in Charlotte, 24 people die each year from air pollution. Poor air quality in Raleigh and Greensboro accounts for 14 such deaths in each locality.
The Society cites ozone and fine particles are the primary pollutants responsible for the deaths. Want to view reports of any fatalities due to polluted air in how your area? The Society breaks down air quality deaths by zip code at thoracic.org.
OBAMA TOP PRESIDENT IN ENERGY SAVING
President Obama could be dubbed the “energy efficiency president” according to an article in the Washington Post.
Much of the administrations efforts have come under-the-radar on mundane products ranging from light bulbs to refrigerators that are of primary interest to homeowners. Chris Mooney writes Obama’s “Energy Department has finalized more new standards for energy efficient appliances and products than any past administration.”
Mooney cites data from two groups that validate that claim: the Appliance Standards Awareness Project and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. In addition, the Energy Department estimates Americans will save $540 billion annually in electric and other bill expenditures through the year 2030 and will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 210 million tons per year in the same period.
Still, the savings aren’t without appliance industry critics. The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute says the regulations are behind American job losses and higher prices consumers pay for products.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BAG OF TRASH
It continues to amaze – and anger me – that the same 2.5 mile route for my daily walks generates at least one bag of junk every day.
I mean, how is that?
In my next life, I want to come back as a Municipal Trash Judge. Talk about dealing harshly with people. What I’d look forward to most would be the stern admonitions, the lectures from the bench, not to mention the sentencing phase of the proceedings.