From the Publisher

Free offer

by Chris Klein
pinion polls tell us the public is concerned about the environment. The percentages vary - typically between 60 and 80 percent - but the message is clear. So, why isn't the environment in better shape? We'll look at this in a minute - but first the free offer.

People who write to the Earth Times mostly want to know what simple things they can do to make a difference. Recycling is at the top of the list, but you probably already know how to do that, or can find out by calling I Love A Clean San Diego County.
Here's another simple one: get a low-flow shower head. I must admit, I love a good, strong, hot shower. When I first heard about the low-flow shower heads, I pictured myself trying to get the soap off while standing under a lukewarm drizzle. But someone gave me one for Christmas several years ago, so I tried it.
It's wonderful. It has a far better spray than my old water guzzler, and has a little cutoff switch to kill the flow when soaping up. I wouldn't have believed it was low-flow if I hadn't measured it myself: about 3 gallons per minute compared to 10 for the old unit!
Here's the free offer. San Diego Earth Day has about 50 of these low-flow units, donated by the San Diego Water Authority, at their office in Pacific Beach. You can have one, for free, if you're willing to come by and pick it up. Or for not-quite-free, if you send us $2 to cover mailing costs (the unit is about the size and weight of a roll of quarters).
All we ask is that you install it within one week. Installation is very simple, requiring only a wrench or a large pair of pliers. If you would like to reserve one of these units, please call Kari Gray at 272-7370.

So, what did you think of the free offer? Are you going to take us up on it? Did it seem like a good idea, or just too much bother? I want you to remember what your thoughts are, right now, and keep reading.
Our opinion about a new activity or way of living (like recycling or water conservation) informs our actions. As time passes, attitudes generally move through a series of stages, something like the following:
1. That's crazy / it'll never work / I don't care.
2. You know, it's just crazy enough to work.
3. Good idea - I'm glad SOMEONE is doing it.
4. I should be doing it / when I find the time.
5. Well, I'm doing it, but it's an effort.
6. Of course I'm doing it / I don't even think about it anymore.
Stages 2 and beyond all contribute to the sense of a new possibility or opportunity, and that's not bad. However, only stages 5 and 6 make a difference in the real world.
I think the public opinion polls on the environment primarily reflect the 80 percent of the public that are at stage 3 and above, with a lot of folks bunched up at stages 3 and 4. If they were are at 5 or 6, this would be a different world.
What we're doing at the Earth Times, and at San Diego Earth Day, is searching for ways to inspire and assist you 3's and 4's to move on to 5: to start taking effective action on your commitment. And, hopefully, to help you 1's and 2's along, too.
Now, about that free offer. What stage were you at? Where are you now? Are you ready to take the next step?