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Hanging on by our 650 billion fingernails… And other small possibilities



Applause rose up Saturday night in the restaurant where we were enjoying celebrations as the lights dimmed for Earth Hour - at least applause arose from our table. But there were still so many lights on around us we felt a bit snubbed. So many habits to change, so little time to do it.

Yes, folks, we are still on target to be entertaining 50 per cent more people on Spaceship Earth by 2040. That means another 3+ billion added to the current 6.5 billion for a total of close to 10 billion people in just 30 short years.

By UN estimates, we should see a leveling off of the number of humans sometime around 2200. After that we're supposed to track the downhill curve in the graph that all species do after they reach their population apex - at least the species we haven't obliterated with our pollution, our excess, our success.

One prominent scientist, Nina Fedoroff, the science and technology advisor to the U.S. secretary of state since 2007, says never mind 2040 - there's already too many of us. In a recent BBC report, Dr. Fedoroff suggested that we need to get much better at bringing down the growth rate of the human population and at managing water supplies and our wild lands. Oh, and get better at using genetically modified foods.

Big stuff, even if you don't go along with the GMO thing. But what can we do by thinking small, very, very small?

What small thing - as small as switching off a light - can we do that, when added to another and another small act, can make a big difference in the Earth/human equation? Regardless of whether you were into Earth Hour, how about trying on another small habit that feels good, gets you in the groove or simply makes sense to you, like...


Whipping out your fingernails

No, not to hang on with, but to clean. Here's another tip from my dear mom, one women have been using for centuries. Her favourite cleaning trick? Her fingernail. See that bit of sticky gunk on the window? That line of soap crud built up on the tap? The orange stuff on your pants? Just get out your fingernail and work it.

Twist it and turn it. Get it in the groove. It won't scratch the surface, you don't have to wring out a dishrag, reach for a scrubber or even rinse, and you certainly don't need a single blob of powders, potions or chemicals. Best of all, your nail is free, organic and totally renewable.