Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old Swedish girl, overcame challenges posed by autism to sail across the ocean and encourage people everywhere to work to reduce damage to the atmosphere and resulting climate change. She is inspiring, but is she wrong?

Greta’s commitment reminds us of the youthful energy of the late 1960s that led to great progress in environmental protection and civil rights. It is our hope that she’s energizing both young and older people to make our planet’s future safer and fairer.

After Greta spoke at the United Nations critics attacked her for advocating governmental action worldwide to reduce emissions yet didn’t say much about individual action.

Is she wrong? Absolutely not. This young woman crossed the ocean in a sailboat to avoid burning fossil fuel. She advocates government action while demonstrating personal actions to keep carbon out of the air.

Winding Pathways encourages homeowners to heed Greta and enhance the health of the atmosphere, water, and land by living lighter on resources. Here are a few steps we all can do to follow the inspiring actions she advocates:

Reduce Emissions

  • Replace the lawn, or part of it, with native plants that don’t require mowing.
  • Use a battery-powered, cordless lawnmower to mow the lawn less frequently and to grow higher. This allows, roots to penetrate deeper into the soil and absorb rain.
  • Insulate and caulk the house. Few actions are as inexpensive as insulating walls and attics, and caulking holes and cracks that let cold air in. These simple steps cut fuel use.
  • Many towns have built safe, pleasant bike trails. Try commuting and shopping by bike instead of by car.
  • Fleece is made from recycled plastic bottles and is toasty warm. Wearing a comfy fleece outfit enables turning the thermostat down a few degrees.

Keep Water on the Property

  • Replace the lawn, or part of it, with native plants that don’t need irrigation or chemicals.
  • Mow less frequently, allowing grass roots to penetrate deeper into the soil.
  • Install rain barrels. They harvest rainwater handy to use to irrigate garden plants, fill chicken waterers, or wash hands outdoors.
  • Install a rain garden to channel downspout water into the ground instead of to a storm sewer.
  • Avoid lawn and garden chemicals. Most lawns and gardens do just fine without them.
  • Compost kitchen waste. Vegetable peels, corn cobs, coffee grounds, and even many paper plates and cups readily compost into humus that lawns and gardens love.

Greta’s right. Governments should take action to reduce emissions. So should you and I in our everyday lives.

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