Archive for the ‘Environmentalism’ Category

50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

It was 1964 when the Wilderness Act was signed into law in the U.S., which protects the wild lands for future generations.  Because of this act, they can’t level the alpine valleys and peaks of the Rocky Mountains and turn the area into a Wal-Mart, and it’s why Sierra Nevada (California’s “Range of Light”) will never be a parking lot. It created the National Wilderness Preservation System (you can view some great pictures of it at the bottom of the page here).  It was a truly monumental act for those of us trying to get the best out of nature.

Wilderness50.org lists all the special events surrounding the occasion, including the Smithsonian photo exhibit, “Wilderness Forever,” in honor of the 50th Wilderness Act anniversary.

Here is a list of the areas protected.  Try to visit some if you can. Breathtaking is an understatement.  Plus these areas might be an inspiring place for a walking meditation.

How to Help the Environment with Little Effort

Sometimes hearing about all the problems the earth is facing- global warming, species extinction, mass pollution- can get overwhelming. It’s easy to slip into the mindset that you’re one person, you can’t do anything, and it’s nature’s problem anyway, even though to this day scientists are finding cures to ailments in natural habitats .

Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, a term that refers to the mental discomfort that comes from being confronted with facts that conflict with our pre-established habits, beliefs and values. For instance, you may ignore facts about the dying ozone layer from vehicle emissions if they conflict with your driving habits and general lifestyle. The problem just requires too much change and seems too large. The remedy, then, is to take the problem down several steps and do the small things.

Even if you’re strapped for time or the problem seems too big, giving donations helps these issues. I like to call it “busy man’s volunteering.” Below are some resources to help you give and make a small dent in the problem:

The National Geographic Society- When most people think of this organization, they think of the weird documentaries we had to watch in school, the magazine and the wide array of Bigfoot shows on NatGeo. However, they are also a thriving organization on the forefront of green living, sustainability and conservation.

Center for a New American Dream– This organization looks to inspire communities to “reduce and shift consumption” for environmental protection. It’s about not buying a new phone every year just to be trendy (that’s more crap for the landfills), it’s about donating your clothes, it’s about living a life not governed by your stuff. If you believe in consuming less so that we all can have more, check these people out.

Trees for the Future- This one is pretty straightforward. You can donate through their site and they’ll plant a tree. You went to fifth grade science class; you know how important trees are. Each tree is 10 cents and a $50 donation gets 500 trees planted.

World Wildlife Fund- You’ve probably heard about these people: the organization with the cute panda logo who advertises everywhere. In addition to allowing you to symbolically adopt a panda bear, the World Wildlife Fund targets the problems where they start- with the local government and community. One of their roles is to work for policy-level changes to save endangered species, as well as work on greater communication. Their land conservation efforts also help local communities to thrive and survive.

EPA.gov- If you are short on cash (because you just bought something new and shiny- I know, it happens), but would like to donate used electronics so we have less in the landfills, the EPA has a list of donation sites here.

The Nature Conservancy- I also addressed these people in my article on volunteer resources here. This organization focuses on protecting land and natural waters.

Volunteermatch.org – I can’t possibly cover every organization out there. I’ve just touched on some of the biggest ones to get you started. Volunteermatch.org can hook you up with some other organizations in their search capacity (hint- search USA for location). I’m sure they’re all accepting donations. Just make sure to research an organization thoroughly before donating so you know your money is going where it should.