OPINION

Moody: Go green for Earth Day

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

There are few things which I believe to be absolutely true, and leave little room for debate. “I want to hold Your Hand” is the quintessential pop song against all other songs should be judged. That red wine, red lipstick, and a great pair of shoes can boost your mood. I believe the world is round, in evolution, and that homemade whipped cream and pie crusts are always better than store bought. I believe that climate change is a real, dangerous threat, and that environmental stewardship is important in both theory and practice.

A recently released report from the United Nations documents the current effects of climate change via rising sea levels, increasingly acidic oceans, melting ice-caps, and unpredictable weather and patterns worldwide. Climate change is no longer a left wing, liberal issue. When framed as part of a larger discussion of human rights, Evangelical Christians are becoming more vocal and supportive of pro-active environmental models.  The poor are disproportionally affected by the aftermath of climate change, especially in the areas of food insecurity and clean water. Younger Christians are mobilizing to change the discussion about global warming and climate change and bring both the left and the right to the table in terms of being good stewards of the environment.

While not everyone will be heading out to buy a hybrid car or a rain barrel to collect their own water, there is a mainstream movement, to be more consciousness about our environmental footprint. At some of the Emerald Coast’s best restaurants, you’ll see a proud commitment to locally sourced produce and protein. Farm to table, using local, season food not only cuts down on carbon emissions from transportation, it boosts the economic stability of local farmers. Chefs opting for fresh, locally caught seafood benefits our fishing fleet, our oceans, and out taste buds. Every year I plant hydrangeas in my garden because they remind me of New England summers. Every year these plants fail miserably leaving me frustrated about my lack of green thumb. I know now that these beautiful, flowering plants won’t thrive in the hot Florida summer, and I have finally realized that I’m wasting all kinds of resources to keep them alive. Like many other gardeners, I’m opting for indigenous and native plants, fruits, and vegetables, for my garden this year, cultivating environmental responsibility as well as a successful harvest.

Created in 1970 as a way to raise awareness about environmental protection, Earth Day has turned into worldwide celebration of conservation and stewardship. Along the Emerald Coast, The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council’s Environmental Council will be hosting the annual Earth Day Beach Clean Up. On Saturday, April 12, from 8:00-10:00 am, you can participate in the clean at one of three locations, Beasley Park, on Okaloosa Island, Beach Walk, East of the Surfdweller Condominiums in Fort Walton Beach, and Henderson Beach State Park in Destin. The event is free is and open to the public. Please be sure to wear closed toe shoes. Sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen are strongly recommended, and gloves and trash bags will be provided.  This year, there will be special emphasis son cigarette waste recycling, which accounts for more than 1.69 billion pounds, or 845,000 tons, of litter every year, making it the world’s most littered item according to the Ocean Conservancy. Cigarette butts end up in the stomachs of birds and fish, who mistake them for food.  For more information about the events, you can log on the website at http://www.co.okaloosa.fl.us

While Northwest Florida is decidedly red during election time, I think we can all go a little green this Earth Day.

Follow Susan Moody on Twitter @susanjmoody and visit her blog, The Emerald Coast Insider, at www.emeraldcoasttreasurebox.com.