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Question of the Week: What trade offs would you be willing to make in your life to protect the environment?

2010 March 1

Choices, choices, choices! We make them everyday. Sometimes we weigh our options and make sacrifices before making our choices. Perhaps you chose to use a reusable water bottle today instead of just grabbing a disposable bottled water. Other times we may decide the trade-off isn’t worth the effort. Tell us about trade offs you are willing to make to help protect the environment. Share your thoughts.

What trade offs would you be willing to make in your life to protect the environment?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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79 Responses leave one →
  1. Jani permalink
    March 5, 2010

    It’s a balancing act. There will always be an effect for every choice we make. I still have a hard time understanding how a “livestock” farm is humane; although I can see that some are less inhumane than others.

    Vegan or not, or somewhere in between, or all the way carnivore–we have to make informed choices. In being a true vegan, a sense of informed thinking is implied; although a vegan may not always voice the caveat: “FYI: I also make informed choices, choose not GMO, buy local…etc.” I think we are safe in assuming it so.

  2. wade harter permalink
    March 5, 2010

    One reply indicated a willingness to pay more for enviro friendly products. Case in point. Back in the mid eighties the textile industry adopted an Encouraging Environmental Excellence Program to identify those textile company products that meet or exceed all EPA enviro requaltions vrs imported goods from countries with no or little enviro regs. Naturally our goods were more costly. Guess what the results were. Some 5,000,000 textile and apparel workers are now out of a job because the public would NOT pay more for enviro friendly products. Try and find a textile plant or sewing plant.

  3. Kristan permalink
    March 5, 2010

    I have been part of a 1-vehicle household for 6 years and hope we never feel the “need” for another. In most weeks the vehicle never moves for 4-5 days. I am willing to wait for a bus, walk several blocks to get where I’m going, and to pay more for the privilege.

  4. Al Bannet permalink
    March 7, 2010

    “Money talks and the people walk.” When they’re paid subsistance wages they need to find any available bargains, and now with so many jobless it’s worse than ever. The once famous “American standard of living” is no more.

  5. Carol permalink
    March 7, 2010

    Do you mean you don’t purchase fruits and vegetables that are out out_of season? I love local winter seasonal vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash. Yum.

  6. Carol permalink
    March 7, 2010

    Too bad it has to get to the point of a depression to force us to realize what is truly important. I hope we don’t wait too long and lose public access to water. Scary!!

  7. Carol permalink
    March 7, 2010

    I do not purchase water. I filter my tap water and use a Klean Kanteen (yes, a real one).
    Local water providers have much more stringent guidelines and transparent reporting than bottled water.

  8. c wilson permalink
    March 7, 2010

    I would be willing to doaway with the EPA.

  9. Bonnie Aylor permalink
    March 7, 2010

    Don’t get this the wrong way, however the trade-off thing is exactly why I am still single right now after 7 years! I can’t stand a guy who doesn’t understand the environment, its a mega turnoff. I mean, there was one that did enjoy it, however we went on the trail and didn’t want to go further because he was afraid of the spider. It’s close to accurate, the spiders actually built their webs in the openways to keep people out because someone had placed a tent there and a fire pit and caught the tent on fire, the spiders were using our sense of fear to protect the rest of the woods. He only saw his own fear, or at least his respect for not wanting to break down the webs (I think it was fear), and there are so many more other stories. LOL, one guy even harassed me for years just because I wanted to take a picture of a turtle hole (gopher) with some dead palms over top curled up, looking like a rippled outfall to the blurried eyesight (turtle eyesight), it was obvious intelligence yet the guy only saw that he thought I was mistaking it. I just can’t get close to someone that can’t respect the environment properly and yield to it submissively, not even in friendship. So I guess you’d call that my trade-off. I’d like to teach the world about it properly though.

    Best regards.

  10. Elisabeth permalink
    March 7, 2010

    The thought often comes to me, which is better, to not participate in any harm towards the environment by joining or starting a back to nature community, or continue to participate in this destructive society so that I can try to influence it for the better, in the mean time taking small steps to reduce my waste and impact. I don’t want to to have to make this choice. I want live in a low impact, zero footprint world. I believe that the technologies are out there that are needed to solve the environmental crises right now, and I’m sick of waiting for the market to get around to utilizing them. I work in a local health food store, I recycle a lot, I have a reusable bottle of water, I turn off appliances, I don’t litter, I don’t use toxic products, I try to eat organic, but I can’t buy everything organic because it’s too expensive, I educate people about environmental issues, I stay informed, I don’t buy a lot. But it’s not enough. EPA please don’t be patient with polluters. Demand sustainability now. The planet and all the life upon it can’t wait.

  11. bassent fisal permalink
    March 8, 2010

    i decided to only use locally-made products.

  12. Idjah permalink
    March 8, 2010

    Beside not using plastic bottles and finding additional use for them like cut them to use as startup cup for seedlings. I also try to reuse any plastic items that enters the house. Food containers from chinese restauarants etc… Also I do not use plastic cups at home We only use glass.

  13. Nancy Jih permalink
    March 8, 2010

    If I have to use the plastic bottle, I save the bottle for filling rain and keep inside so I can water my plant on the regular basis.

    I save the container when I make the purchase of new plant and I put my fruit skin, scrap and etc ( I save them everyday) inside of the container and put underside down the ground to make soil more organic.

    I save the snow so I do not have to use water from faucet to save the energy.

    There are many things we can do, the problem is many people know to save, but they choose not to watch those details and they think we have a lot to dispense some how

  14. Dylan permalink
    March 9, 2010

    Yeah right… Clean tap water… Not. So many pollutants are in our water. And newsflash… Most bottled water comes straight out of the tap too. I get my drinking water out of a spring. Much better

  15. Laura W permalink
    March 12, 2010

    I work for a water company and with part of my education, did you know that tap water goes through MUCH stricter regulations than bottled water does? You are far more likely to find contaminents in bottled water than tap water.

  16. Karelle permalink
    March 13, 2010

    1. convert all light fixtures to cfl – DONE
    2. Convert to hybrid car, 40mpg – DONE
    3. Use only environmentally safe cleaning products – organic and biodegradable – DONE (thanks
    4. Add insulation, where possible – DONE
    5. Engage in NON-motorized outdoor activities – DONE
    6. Turn off all electronics when not in use – mostly DONE
    7. Reuse water for irrigation – DONE
    8. Low-flow shower head – DONE
    9. Compost (some) kitchen and yard waste (can’t do it all – Bears and raccoons) – DONE
    10. Grow food with reused water (see 7) – DONE
    11. Buy locally grown, organic food, as much as possible.
    12. Continue to make home improvements that enhance quality of life and environmental friendliness.
    13. Move to a vegetarian diet – working on it.
    14. Hang laundry in summer, do only full loads of laundry. – DONE
    15. Buy goods with minimal packaging, in bulk and reuse plastic containers that I do buy – DONE as best I can.
    16. Read on computer screen – minimize printing, use recycled paper – WORKING ON IT.
    16. Add solar and wind generating capacity.
    17. Think before I buy, use, speak.

  17. Ginger Gavin permalink
    March 17, 2010

    As a concerned Naturalist and an Agriculturist, I am currently taking Apiary classes this spring to learn how to raise Honey Bee colonies. My intent is to help our environment by investing in my first Honey Bee hive and colony this spring.

    Honey Bees are a wonderful natural resource, responsible for pollinating over 30% of our food sources. Unfortunately, Honey Bees are experiencing an epidemic environmental concern world-wide called Colony Collapse Disorder (“CCD”). CCD is responsible for depleting Honey Bee populations and is a great concern for environmentalists, farmers and all who grow and consume fresh fruit and vegetables.

    I would like to contribute my time, money, knowledge and skills to help put an end to CCD.

    My intent is to contribute to more disease resistant Honey Bee populations, produce organic honey and other wax and honey products and contribute, generally, to a better environment for my community, my family and our world.

  18. Ginger Gavin permalink
    March 17, 2010

    I also compost all our non-meet food scraps. We air dry laundry in the summer and I always use organic fertilizers, like fish emulsion, and organic pest control techniques for my lawn and vegetable garden.

    Also, I drive a VW TDI (small diesel engine car) and use a blend of 20% biodiesel to reduce carbon emissions and particulate matter and encourage the recycling of waste kitchen grease in our area. I not only help our air quality and reduce fossil fuel dependency, but my car runs better and I get great fuel mileage, averaging about 48mpg on B20 (20% biodiesel).

  19. Libby permalink
    March 21, 2010

    I am new to this, but have been mulling this for a while and the earthquake in Haiti recently motivated me to act now rather than later. So I am growing my own microgreens to eat, (learning to compost is next), checking into solar energy for home use to get off the grid (, eventually, I will need to investigate water and food storage for emergencies. we’ve already reduced our carbon footprint by eliminating 1 car already since we moved into a great neighborhood within walking distance to a natural food store, restaurants, shops etc. and we use public transportation for work commutes.

  20. Keith McCain permalink
    April 5, 2010

    Buying foods from the supper market, such as meat, produce and other items cause a lot of pollution, and here’s why. Think about what it takes to ship produce from the farms and other countries. In most cases they ship by plane and by truck all which cause pollution to the environment. My goal which is already happening is to self sustain and to eat mostly RAW Organic foods that come from my garden. I realize that here in Canada it’s virtually impossible to grow all year round and that is why i got into sprouting in the winter months. To tell you the truth I wasn’t aware that sprouting was even a way of eating until I came across sprouting which taught me everything I needed to do from seed to sprout. This was a big change for me and I felt very empowered knowing I was supplying myself with food without contributing to the creation of more toxic pollution.

    Recap: The one thing that I have done to reduce additional pollution is to cultivate my own food from home, which reduces consumer demand for super market foods, and save me the trip (which in turn) reduces the gas emissions from me driving there.

  21. Keith McCain permalink
    April 5, 2010

    I have already made a post…But I must say you have created a great list, that I will follow too!

    Thank You Karelle

  22. ShakD permalink
    October 20, 2010

    I hang laundry outside, and it smells great. I think it’s very bad that some housing areas do not allow this. I almost never use my clothes dryer. But being a beekeeper, I try to involve mother nature as a form of human activities. Sun for heat, and beekeeping for honey! I’m a beekeeping expert and would ensure that beekeeping be spread around the world. Bees are becoming more and more endangered due to global warming as well.

  23. Esther permalink
    November 15, 2010

    As a bee removal company in Dallas, I have found being a beekeeper so rewarding! Being able to help clients and also be sustainable is an important part of my business.

  24. Bob Crist permalink
    December 5, 2010

    Unfortunately, Honey Bees are experiencing an epidemic environmental concern world-wide called Colony Collapse Disorder CCD is responsible for depleting Honey Bee populations and is a great concern for environmentalists, farmers and all who grow and consume fresh fruit and vegetables.

  25. eric permalink
    December 20, 2010

    Chevrolet Volt is a great electric car with LED tail lights and headlight.

    Obviously, how far you routinely drive will play a key role in how thrifty the Volt will be. We think most potential owners will be able to take advantage of its electric range. And electricity costs for recharging are but a fraction for the equivalent amount of gasoline. What’s not clear is whether those savings are worth what you’ll have to pay at the dealership. Even with a $7,500 federal tax credit, a base Volt will still cost $33,500 — and that’s without the home charging station that’s essentially mandatory for a plug-in hybrid like the Volt. There’s also a strong likelihood that dealers will try to gouge early customers with sky-high markups.

    Still, there is no denying the Volt’s technological promise. Most importantly, it has the ability to keep on going when its battery runs down (say, on a road trip), whereas an all-electric vehicle like Nissan’s Leaf does not. If you want an intriguing yet practical taste of a greener automotive future, the 2011 Chevy Volt might be just what the General ordered.

  26. EthelSaccorvor permalink
    August 23, 2011

    I really did benefit from it

  27. permalink
    September 14, 2011

    I’ve already developed a lifestyle of reducing consumption as much as is practical – got rid of 1 car – walk more – live in a neighborhood that has what we need in walking distance and growing microgreens which is tabletop gardening.

  28. permalink
    November 5, 2011

    I love my microgreens – makes salads great.

  29. Paris permalink
    June 7, 2013

    start by using items that can be recycled and do not litter

    keep the honeybee population in order to produce honey and we can enjoy the benefits of honey :)

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