Although in this photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin looks like he’s concocting an evil plan, what he’s coming up with is actually quite genius. Putin announced that Russia will become the #1 producer of foods that are non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms). Say what you will about Russia, but it looks like they might be able to do something that the US has never been able to do, stand up to Monsanto and genetically modified seeds.
In an address to Russian parliament, Putin proudly outlined his plan to make Russia the world’s ‘leading exporter’ of non-GMO foods that are based on ‘ecologically clean’ production.
That’s right, we’re talking about Russia.
This news comes just months after Russia banned the production of genetically engineered foods. It’s clear now that Russia was using the GMO ban as a starting point to become a world leader in organic farming, and more importantly, exporting their organic farming.
In his speech to Parliament, Putin even took an eco swing at the US with:
“We are not only able to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, water resources – Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing.”
Ouch! This coming from the country that created Lake Karachay, the most toxic place on earth. Apparently standing there for an hour could kill you because of all the radioactive waste.
As Russia cleans up their act, Americans are forced to look inward. We have to look at ourselves and ask, “What can we change?” What can we bring to the table when there is a global discussion of becoming more pro-environment?
There are things everyone knows to do, buy fuel efficient cars, carpool, recycle, take shorter showers, put solar panels on your house, compost, buy water efficient toilets, etc. But there other things to also consider:
- Turn off your computer at night
- All environmentalists say to only use environmentally friendly bags. So, I will tell you that, too. Buy Ragbags to use for grocery bags, kitchen towels, plant blankets, gym bags, gift bags and seat covers.
- Always take a marker when at a party or picnic with plastic or paper cups. If people write their names on cups, they are less likely to lose them and need need extra cups. But more importantly, when your name is on a cup, you’re less likely to litter or forget to recycle the cup.
- Take water with you when you leave home, so you won’t need to buy plastic water bottles. Or if you’re forgetful like me, after you wash your water bottle, put it back in your car or bag or somewhere you will have it ready next time you leave.
- Buy energy efficient light bulbs
- Take the stairs instead of elevator
- Walk or bike instead of driving
- And whenever possible exercise outside instead of indoors. If the weather is great, why are people on treadmills?
- When someone gives you a gift in a gift bag, save it for next time you give a gift.
- And put this one on your calendar to do. It will take a few minutes, but totally worth it. Contact all the companies that send you giant catalogs that you never even look at. Most catalogs that come to my house get dropped in the recycling on my walk back from the mailbox. Bypass this step by telling companies to stop sending these all-together.
- Read labels, not only for what you are buying, but where you are buying it from. I used to think the ‘buy local’ or ‘buy American’ movement was to promote the local economy. But the truth is, the closer to you items are made, the less environmental damage was done getting the product to you.
- Don’t use your TV for background noise. Instead listen to music on CD Player, stereo, iPhone, or really any device instead of TV.
- Unplug devices you aren’t using.
According to Bruce Nordman, an energy efficiency researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as a general rule of thumb, the bigger—and older—the device, the more power it uses while it’s off. So it’s much more effective to unplug the decade-old TV in your guest bedroom than the phone charger that you bought last year. Another tip: “When you put your hand on the adaptor, if it’s hot, it’s using energy. If it’s not hot, it’s probably not using very much energy.” (Excerpt from motherjones.com)
- Get organized. (This is totally the pot calling the kettle black.) I frequently buy new things because I don’t have time to look for the one I already have. If you are organized, you already know where that illusive 3 volt battery is when your smoke alarm battery gets low in the middle of the night and starts beeping. And you know that you already have 24 party cups, so you don’t need to buy more. Also if you plan your day the night before, you’re less likely to have to do additional gas-guzzling driving, backtracking and last minute purchases. (Again, talking to myself here, people.)