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Let us live lightly on the Earth

There's a never-ending search in Grand Forks for a place to put our refuse. The response has been "Not in my backyard"; and, unfortunately, we've heard that a time or two in the past few years.

There's a never-ending search in Grand Forks for a place to put our refuse. The response has been "Not in my backyard"; and, unfortunately, we've heard that a time or two in the past few years.

I certainly don't blame people who don't want things such as hungry birds, wind-blown refuse, a stinky smell and the unsightliness of a landfill close by.

I thought about this as I carried a big bag of garbage to the pickup site of my apartment complex. The site has a big container that fills full regularly.

So, I hang my head, and admit that I contribute to the overabundance in the landfill, too. And on top of everything else, landfills emit methane as organic waste decomposes, experts say. Methane contributes to global warming.

While searching for information on this topic, I found a New York Times story from 2007 that reported, "The world's leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is very likely caused by man and will be unstoppable for centuries. . . . The phrase 'very likely' translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man's burning fossil fuels. That was the strongest conclusion to date, making it nearly impossible to say natural forces are to blame."


I also know that an overwhelming number of climate scientists say the world is warming; and as for the doubters, there are a few -- a very few -- scientists who disagree.

My sister, Lizzy, said I spent too much time in April watching television specials on global warming as well as the "Earth in Peril" specials. Aren't you a tad overzealous about the subject? she asked me.

You see, I had several days during my recovery from surgery to watch TV. I was a couch potato.

Frankly, it was chilling to watch the polar ice caps breaking into huge chunks and falling into a growing ocean. Global warming is causing environmental changes, I learned. Those changes are closing the door to animals such as polar bears and seals. It's so dire that polar bears are being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act, but so far, no decision has been made.

The Midwest Flyway, the migratory path of birds, is exciting in the spring. Millions of birds migrate north. We are seeing some of these birds for the first time in our area, it has been reported. Cardinals, great blue herons and others didn't always come this far north. It's further evidence that we are warming faster than scientists anticipated.

There is hope. Los Angeles has had regular rolling blackouts in the past, but the city has had few of them in the past few years. That may be because the word is out, and many people are working hard to "pussy foot" on the planet rather than walking with a heavy foot and leaving a big print.

There are many things we can do as individuals that might otherwise seem insignificant. For example, rather than bringing home lots of plastic bags when we go grocery shopping, we can use "green" bags. I have three "green" bags, and I've forgotten to take them to the grocery store many times. But I am working it.

I also try not to get a bag when I shop for something such as a candy bar or pack of gum. I just throw the item in my purse. And watch for and buy things that are made from recycled materials.


There are hundreds of ways we as individuals can help ease the load on our landfills.

A landfill is necessary, but our city and county also need to look at making recycling easier. The city needs more recycling containers and th containers need to be more accessible.

True, these things cost money. But if the Grand Forks area can find ways to build a new jail, a new wellness center and so on, then recycling and living lightly on the earth can be made a priority of city and county government.

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