††††††††††† The most crucial topic of our day is not how to act at a Dead show (although this is a matter of concern that touches close to home), but whatís becoming of our environment. Thanks to the Grateful Dead, we have become more aware of the devastation in store for us with the destruction of the rainforests. Yet, there are so many other ways that we are being affected through shear neglect and stupidity.
††††††††††† It would be easy to sit back and say, ďWhat can I possibly do that will matter in the scheme of thingsĒ and do nothing. Thereís so much we can each do as individuals. It all starts at home. The easiest part is to just become aware. Some of the little things we can do could make a big difference.
††††††††††† When you get your garbage together after a day, do you ever wonder where itís going? This can become an obsessing horror, but with a little forethought, youíd be amazed at how much less waste you create when you face the end result. Recycle bottles and jarsóif theyíre deposit bottles, return them. If theyíre disposable, donít dump themóre-use them! Re-use your plastic containers as well. Plastics are not biodegradable and plastic bags are creating some unique dumping problems. They have recently begun making plastic bags out of cornstarch. These are biodegradable, so ask for them in local stores. Iím searching out the manufacturer and will pass this on in a future issue.
††††††††††† Other environmental hazards are a little less obvious. Styrofoam is made with the use of fluorocarbons, which is the biggest culprit destroying our ozone layer. Fast food restaurants insist on using Styrofoam containers to this day, even with this clear threat to our planet! Keep your car together. Automobile fumes are a major polluting factor. And what about cigarette smoking? Think about the number of cigarettes smoked each dayóthat much tobacco smoke must be doing something towards increasing our environmental problems, not to mention what itís doing to you and me. Parents who smoke in their homes increase the chances of respiratory ailments in their children by about 80%, so if you wonít stop for yourselves, think of their health.
††††††††††† Donít buy exotic woods (like teak or mahogany). Much of this is taken from the rainforests. Fast food beef is in large part grazed on land that was once a rainforest. And to make matters worse, that land can only be used for grazing for 8 years before it becomes useless even for that. A rainforest canít grow back. Not only does the rainforest account for much or all of the air we breathe, itís believed that the cures for our most-dreaded diseases will one day be found there. Many current remedies were discovered in rainforests. Moreover, rainforests capture, store and recycle rain, thus preventing floods, drought and soil erosion. They also serve to regulate local and global climates. And what about the creatures living there? Itís said that if you spent one day in a rainforest, you would discover a previously undocumented species of life. Rainforests are the traditional home of hundreds of thousands of indigenous tribal people. These unique cultures depend on the rainforests for food and shelter.
††††††††††† This might all seem a bit heavy, but the situation has gotten progressively worse and it just canít be ignored any longer. In order for us to celebrate many new years, take warning. Take part. Itís up to you. Education is our best defense. By learning all you can and passing the word, we canít avoid helping the situation. Itís up to us to help the ignorant abusers as well as ourselves.
††††††††††† In the late 60s, there was so much consciousness raising and our environment was of major concern. Somewhere along the line, the issue was put aside (not forgotten, as Iím sure it lurked in the back of many minds, just scratching the surface of reason). But here it is, weíre now faced with a problem that has grown 20 years worse. And it affects us all, including our children and their children.
††††††††††† Itís a proven statistic that at the rate we are destroying our environment, there wonít be a habitable place on earth within one hundred years!
††††††††††† You can write the following for more information:
††††††††††† Randall Hayes,
Rainforest Action Network, 300 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
††††††††††† Jason Clay, Cultural Survival, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
††††††††††† Karen Pickett, Bay Area Earth First!, P.O. Box 83, Canyon, CA 94516
††††††††††† Larry Williams, Sierra Club, 330 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E., Washington, DC 20003
††††††††††† Ken Taylor, Survival International, 2121 Decatur Pl. NW, Washington, DC 20008
††††††††††† Peter Bahouth, Greenpeace, 1436 U St. N.W., Washington, DC 20009
††††††††††† Anne Ehrlich, Center for Conservation Biology, Dept. of Bio. Sciences, Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305
††††††††††† B. Blackwelder, Environmental Policy Institute, 218 D Street S.E., Washington, DC 20003
††††††††††† Tom Stoel, NRDC, 1350 New York Ave. NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005
††††††††††† Letís correct our parentsí mistakes for our children. We can make peace with the environment. Weíre the last generation who will have the opportunity.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Toni A. Brown
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