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Ecological Buzzwords

by Jaye Sudar

HUERFANO- Carbon footprint.  Biodiversity.  Renew.  Recycle.  Organic.  Locavore.  Reuse. All of these terms are bombarding us in the news.  However, just what do they mean?  How do they fit in our world view?  What impact do they make on the average tree-hugging dirt worshiper?

    I grew up during the first wave of ecological awareness in the late 60s and early 70s, and I now have an overwhelming feeling of déja vu.  We learned how to save the planet from the voracious consumer, and then poof, suddenly it didn′t matter anymore.  We thought we′d saved the planet.

    However, like most things we shove to the back of the closet, ecological awareness spills out when we least expect it.  We should now reevaluate our lifestyles.

• Carbon footprint.  That′s the impact we make on the planet through our lifestyle choices.  What resources do we use to get to work, cook, heat our homes or go on vacation?  Good choices reduce our footprint.  Bad choices dump more carbon into the atmosphere and deplete resources.  Planting a tree may reduce that carbon debt, but so can walking to work, planting a garden or recycling your trash.

• Biodiversity.  Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to ecology. The more variation there is in an ecosystem, the better the quality of life is for everyone. An area with good diversity is a healthier ecosystem.  This includes using local plants instead of imports in your garden.

• Renew/Recycle/Reuse.  It ought to be second nature by now.  Compost that wasted food.  Wash out those bottles.  Recyle those cans and newspapers. Monitor your trash for a week and see how you rate.

• Organic.  No chemicals.  Often locally grown and not always perfectly formed.  It’s worth it for the taste.

• Locavore.  No, this isn′t a new kind of predator, but someone who shops locally, not just for dishes or clothes, but for food as well.  A locavore eats what′s in season, and tries to buy food items grown or produced within 50 or 100 miles.  Buying locally saves fuel and promotes farmers markets.  In Colorado, check out the local produce stands or food festivals, and take a minute in the store to see if that potato is from Alamosa or Idaho.  Support local agriculture.