Alan Weisman, journalist and author, discusses living greener lives.
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How We Can Lead Greener Lives True theirs a lot of things that we can do. One thing I was asked that question once right when my book first came out, I was giving a book signing in Denver. And I was asked to speak to a group of young republic no—young democrats, actually it doesn’t matter because I will speak to anybody. And the same thing happens at both their meetings. You go in as young professionals who have now have a party allegiance and not only do they show up for this meetings but also I didn’t realize this but we get this sort of fringe of candidates standing at the back of the room, we’re all want to meet this people and glad hand them and get to know them and get their votes. So one point one of the democrats says “What can we do now to make things better?” and it just pop into my head because I talked in the book about how all this plastic is escaping and most of plastic is used for food packaging and I also an expert explained to me that even paper when buried in our land fields, it doesn’t biodegrade right away because if their no oxygen in there they can read newspapers a hundred years old in at the bottom of land fields. So I replay to this guy well here’s something you can do turn around and ask this all people and putting at this candidates behind there that if they elected to the Colorado legislature, will they promise to introduce a bill making It a crime to give away a free bag in a Colorado supermarket and that’s struck everybody as a really great idea. In the sense that would be something that wouldn’t be so hard to do because plastic did not enter the main stream until before World War II until right after World War II, so back then are grandmothers when they went to the market, they carry this bag and filled it up with every thing that they bought and they didn’t have to put the cucumbers in one plastic bag and the onions in a separate plastic bag etcetera like we do now I mean so flavors would mix. They take it home they dump it out and then they bring the same bag back over and over again. That’s not a really hard change and I’ve noticed that this is one of this kind of spontaneous occurrences that seems to simultaneously appear in lots of cultures all over the world suddenly is happening in every where, lots of grocery chains, the entire country of Ireland is institute in the is policy that if you want a bag you have to buy it. And that’s terrific that’s one thing that we could be doing now to really really help. There are ways that we could be saving so much energy even in Northern climbs if every single flat rooftop had solar collectors on it just to heat the water which is cheap technology, we would be saving 20% to 25% of the energy demands on every single building. In the South West where I lived a lot and we’re I’m currently teaching at the University Of Arizona, I teach their once a year. They still—the architect still thinks that buildings should be built with—that depends solely on air-conditioning or solely on heating and so they build these buildings with windows that can’t open and it’s amazing, they do this a lot and that’s crazy. Most of the year you can open the windows and you don’t have to have some pump and some compressor that is circulating the air and using energy. So I don’t go on about all these stuff in my book, lots of other people books are about this and my intention for this book is not to make people feel guilty about what we are doing right now. I wanted them to, I want to just clear the decks of this, so they can see how nice things would go if we would stop doing it, but yeah I think there’s a lot of things we can do and we have to try doing them all.

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