Friday Fragments
Cheers & Jeers

An Excellent (Re)Post

My personal notes are below in blue.

No Impact Man's Top Ten Eco-Lifestyle Changes

1. Stop eating beef. Worldwide, beef production contributes more substantially to climate change than the entire transportation sector. Plus, a diet with no or less beef is better for you anyway. (I haven't eaten beef or pork since 1995 for purely environmental reasons.  Americans are the primary consumers of the livestock that the world's rainforests are destroyed to produce, and I didn't want to be any part of that destruction.)

2. Give up bottled water. The production of plastic water bottles together with the privatization of our drinking water is an environmental and social catastrophe. Bottled water costs more per gallon than gasoline. Plus, the health consequences of drinking water from plastic are not clear. (We have been buying bottled water lately, for the first time EVER, since our water filtration system needs repairs we can't afford at the moment, and every time I crack open a bottle, I feel terribly guilty. With good reason. I'm ashamed to even say it here, that I am buying it... However, I do bring canvas bags every time I shop, and have nixed plastic bags. Too bad the newspapers are still delivered in them!)

3. Observe an eco-sabbath. For one day or afternoon or even hour a week, don't buy anything, don't use any machines, don't switch on anything electric, don't cook, don't answer your phone, and, in general, don't use any resources. In other words, for this regular period, give yourself and the planet a break. Keep your regular eco-sabbath for a month. You'll find that the enforced downtime represents an improvement to your life. (I love this idea but would go crazy unplugging everything and re-plugging them, since appliances still use energy even when they are off. You can never stop consuming energy all the way, anyway - the fridge and freezer are always on, for instance. But I like this idea and will maybe make Sunday our best-as-we-can-eco-sabbath.)

4. Tithe a fixed percentage of your income. Currently, many of our societal health and welfare services, at home and abroad, are tied to consumer spending which, in turn, depends upon planetary resource use. But the idea of buying stuff to help people is crazy, especially when you consider that our consumption is harming the habitat that we depend upon for our health, happiness and security. If you want to help, don't go shopping. Just help. Commit to tithing part of your income to the non-profits of your choice. (I also love this suggestion, that the non-religious can still tithe to the charities of their choice. Now if only CARE Package was someone's choice!) ;)

5. Get there under your own steam. Commit to getting around by bike or by foot a certain number of days a month. Not only does this mean using fewer fossil fuels and creating less greenhouse gasses, it means you'll get good, healthy exercise and we'll all breathe fewer fumes. A city with pedestrian and bike traffic is a lot more pleasant to live in than a city filled with vehicles. (Too true. I only wish we lived in the kind of place where vehicles were not necessary. Although I used to rollerblade everywhere, before I had a license, for long, long distances. Even to buy my groceries. Or I'd carry them home on my back, while riding my bike. I guess it is possible, if I weren't so fat and lazy. And there it is.)

6. Commit to not wasting. Wasting resources costs the planet and your wallet. Don't overheat or overcool your home--a few degrees make a huge difference. Let your clothes hang dry instead of using the dryer. Take half the trips but stay twice as long. If your old cell phone works, consider not getting another. Repair instead of rebuy. The list goes on and on. (I am huge on not wasting. I absolutely abhor waste. I get on the kids, especially Sophia, all the time about wasting money, energy, time, whatever product they've just dumped out, etc. It makes me ill.)

7. Build a community. Play charades. Have dinners with friends. Sing together. Enjoying each other costs the planet much less than enjoying its resources. Let's relearn to joke around and play in ways that cost nothing to our pocketbooks or our planet. (I can't imagine hanging around with friends and singing together. Wait, yes I can, I used to do it in high school all the time with my chorus friends. And it was fun, too. Hey, friends, let's get together and sing!) ;P

8. Take your principles to work. The old adage "the cost of doing business" can no longer hold true. We must act as though we care about the world at work as much as we do at home. A company CEO or a product designer has the power to make a gigantic difference through their business, and so do the rest of us. (Let your wallet speak to your beliefs. I try not to buy anything from companies known to test on animals, for instance.)

9. Dedicate a day's worth of TV viewing to eco-service each week. The average American watches four and a half hours of TV a day. Take one day off from the tube each week and joining with others to improve our planet. Voluntary eco-service is a great way to find community who support your values and also a great way to learn about environmental issues and the quality of life issues that go along with them. (Harder for me to do. I never just sit and watch TV; I'm always doing something else when it's on, like knitting or crocheting. I could do those without the TV, but it would put me to sleep or drive me crazy! And I do those things in service to CARE Package.)

10. Believe with all your heart that how you live your life makes a difference to all of us. We are all interconnected. We make a difference to each other on many different levels. Every step towards living a conscious life where we consider the consequences of our actions provides support to everyone else--whether you know it or not--who is trying to do the same thing. We are the masters of our destinies. Let's act as though it is so. (Completely agreed, 'nough said.)