Protecting  Our  Environment

                  Melania Van Thull

A few years ago, I realized how easy it is to cause damage to our environment with our actions such as the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers to grow food. Overuse of electricity in our homes is another problem as well as the consumption of products that are made with virgin fiber. For these reasons I decided to start a lifestyle that has a low impact on the environment by buying organic and local food, limiting the use of electricity, and avoiding the consumption of products that are made of virgin fiber.

I buy organic and local food because it has a positive effect on the environment.  Organic farming limits or avoids the use of pesticides and fertilizers which are made of petroleum and synthetic chemicals. So this method of producing crops does not harm the environment, and I assure that my food is more healthful than the food that is produced with harmful chemicals. For that reason, my favorite place to buy groceries is Trader Joe’s supermarket because most of the food there comes from organic farms. In addition, I feel assured knowing that the products I buy require less water and energy to grow.  Also, on weekends I love to buy local foods in the farmers markets in Campbell and Los Gatos, for I know that their foods do not have to travel long distances as the industrialized foods do, which uses a lot of energy in order for them to be transported.

Another way I have a low impact on the environment is by limiting my use of electricity in my apartment. This not only helps me save money, but it also decreases the demand for energy. Moreover, I chose to live in an apartment whose walls and ceilings have good insulation. Therefore, during the winter I do not have to heat my apartment too often and when the summer comes, I do not have to use the air conditioner to cool off. Furthermore, in summer I use the light that comes through my window to dry my light clothes on a rack, which I place in front of my kitchen window inside the apartment. Also, when I wash my dishes, I try to fill my dishwasher before I run it. Another good example of conserving electricity is if I travel, I want to be sure that all my appliances such as the refrigerator, dryer and washing machine as well as my electronic devices are unplugged.

I also avoid products that require virgin fibers because more trees have to be cut down only to provide comfort to some people. For example, I buy a rough toilet paper brand, Green Forest Single Roll, which is made with 100% recycled fiber. Moreover, I replaced my kitchen paper towels and napkins with pieces of cotton fabric because these are not disposable. In addition, I do not use facial tissue if they are not made with recycled fiber.

Having a negative impact on our environment is very easy with the common actions that we do every day such as buying food grown with toxic pesticides and fertilizers, wasting energy in our homes and consuming products that contain virgin fiber. This realization motivated me to make positive changes in my lifestyle in order to have a low impact on our planet. I will continue to do my part for the environment by buying organic and local food, reducing my use of electricity, and avoiding use of products made with virgin fiber.