But first, when you see kids out trick-or-treating tonight “¦ please consider these lines from the nation’s top climate scientist:
“¦ the most serious effects will be visited upon the young and the unborn, the generations that bear no responsibility for the problem. The most important effects, I believe, will be those that are irreversible for all practical purposes, specifically (1) extermination of species, and (2) ice sheet disintegration and sea level rise. If we continue business-as-usual energy policy, using more and more fossil fuels, it is likely that we will have: (1) rapid climate change that will combine with other pressures on species to cause the rate of extinction of plants and animals to increase markedly, leading in some cases to ecosystem collapse, snowballing extinctions, and a more desolate planet for future generations. (2) meter-scale sea level rise this century, and ice sheets in a state of disintegration that guarantees future sea level rise in the 10-meter-scale, with a continual reworking of future global coastlines out of humanity’s control.
I would add that the planetary desolation our continued inaction would leave our children includes the loss of the inland glaciers that provide fresh water for a billion people, irreversible ocean acidification and Dust-Bowlification across one third of the habited land mass (see “Hell and High Water “).
That should give a double incentive for a greener Halloween … “in ways you may not have thought of”:
(1) Think outside the store-bought box.
Forget the costly, typical, polyester costumes that you find at those pop-up Halloween superstores. This year, recycle what’s already in your house for a more eco and original approach.
Here are four ideas that I shared recently on CNN.com/LIVE
- Skunk: Wear a black turtleneck & tights and paste a white strip down your back
- Spider: Wear black leotard & tights, and attach 4 extra sets of “legs” — tights stuffed with paper.
- Ragdoll: Wear a sleeper with patches, a stocking cap, rosy cheeks and freckles
- Jack in the Box: Wear bright tights and shirt. Attach a brightly painted box with a crank.
(2) Aluminum foil makes a costume and makes any costume better.
- Good old aluminum foil like Reynolds Wrap from 100% recycled aluminum is the obvious choice. It can become the star on your daughter’s fairy godmother wand or the sword in your young Jedi hand. Simply cut a star or sword from cardboard and cover both sides with aluminum foil. For the star, attach it to the top of a short dowel rod, tie on some ribbon, and voila!
- It can become the face of your child’s futuristic face mask. Cut out the mask from cardboard. Cut holes for eyes and the mouth, then cover the mask with foil and use paint, or glue on feathers or glitter to decorate.
- Cover 3 boxes in cascading sizes with foil to make a robot costume
- Cover cardboard fins for a Nemo-like shiny fish
(3) Carry two bags: one for treats and a bag for trash
Your treat bag doesn’t need to be some synthetic polyester pumpkin. Instead use a reusable grocery bag or a decorated old pillowcase.
In addition to your treat bag, carry a second bag for litter. Each November 1st, people wake to streets and sidewalks littered with candy wrappers and discarded costumes. This Halloween, walk with a trash bag in hand and help keep our streets clean.
(4) Choose a walking neighborhood
Forget about stop-and-go trick-or-treat driving, walking is the more carbon-neutral, eco-friendly choice. If you don’t live in a “walking” neighborhood, try carpooling, picking a different neighborhood where you can walk, or trick-or-treating at the mall.
(5) When it’s all over, donate!
Take this year’s costume and host a swap party with neighbors or school friends so you’ll all have something new to wear next year.
Or, better yet, donate your costumes to a local children’s hospital. They’re always so grateful for any donated books, toys, and costumes for dress up days.