Letter to My Fellow Americans

10/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I know it's hard right now, with the economy and all, to pay attention to anything else. You're not sure you can make your next mortgage payment. You worry you may lose your job. You can't pay for health insurance and are afraid of getting sick. You want to send your kids to a good college but can't afford it. Putting enough food on the table is becoming harder and harder. You can't buy a more efficient car, and your gas guzzler truck is eating up whatever little money you have. The 401K you were counting on, is at risk of vanishing overnight. Justifiably so, you are worried about your future, and your family's future.

Just when you feel, there is no room in your life for one more worry, I ask you to please take a moment, and consider these facts:

New research from the Global Carbon Project shows that, far from slowing down, greenhouse gas emissions are accelerating at a pace beyond worst case scenario outlined by the U.N. commission last year. Worst offenders are Chinese and Americans, with lots of the Chinese emissions being fueled by the production of goods destined for the U.S. Scientists are calling these new numbers scary. In other words, you and I should be very, very worried. If left unchecked, climate change threatens our food, air, energy, and water supplies, along with our health and personal safety. The scientists are telling us the time to act is becoming even shorter, and can be measured in a few years, not decades.

You may wonder, so what? Why are you telling me this? There's nothing I can do. All that stuff is for big time politicians and scientists to figure out.

Well, as it turns out, there is a lot that rests in your hands. And the same actions you can take to save the planet, may also help alleviate some of your immediate personal worries also. That's the irony. What's good for the world, is also best for you and vice versa. Rather than burdening you with yet another list of green tips, I am going to ask you for one simple thing only. Think about the one action you can take today that will save you money, and that's also good for the Earth. If in doubt, err on the side of "less is more". Less eating, less buying, less driving, less laundry, less flying, less commuting, less heating, resulting in more money, more time, and better health.

Now, I would be lying if I told you I follow my own recommendations without fail. The truth is there are days, when life gets to be too much, and I want a break from being good. And I sin to my heart's content. Go crazy with the dryer, and hop in the car, even when I know I shouldn't, or buy that one pound of beef I can't really afford. Because like you, I am a product of our consumerist culture, and I can't help always wanting more, even when I know it is not good for me, my family, or the world. The main thing is to be aware, and to keep on trying.

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter.