Day 11 of Daily Footprint Project. The main thrust of the project has been to examine my personal contribution in terms of ecological footprint. Seems simple enough.
Is it really? That’s when the roasted chicken from Whole Foods comes in.
I decided to buy the creature this morning, in anticipation of Catherine’s needs for a nutritious late afternoon snack. I know, I should not contribute further to pollution with yet another non recyclable plastic container. But I did. I was going to be busy all day. No time to cook. She was to have dinner with her Dad late, and I figured she could munch on the chicken when she got back from her school with her friends.
The chicken got me thinking.
As the nurturer in our home, I am responsible for purchasing the chicken. What happens to the chicken after that, is up to the consumers, my teenage children. How much of it gets actually eaten? How much of it goes to waste? I have little control over that part.
I am a member of the family system, and whether I want it or not, my ecological footprint gets muddled in the course of my interactions with other family members. I already alluded to the emotional component of green parenting, in regards to my need to nurture with more food than necessary – Day 1 of Daily Footprint Project -, and my difficulty setting limits, as in the laundry example – The Complicated Landscape of Green Parenting -. With Prad, issues of control, power, and authority, make it difficult for both he and I to take charge of our own green-ness, or lack thereof. When Prad insists on taking repeated far away trips, am I to stay home, or go along with him, but compromise my views on limiting air traveling. When I disagree with him on his stance on food portion control, and I generously buy and cook food as if there were a few more people in the house, how does that affect his own intentions?
All of the above highlights the importance of the ecological impact of not just each individual member in the family, but also the role of the family as a system, with a complex set of relationships, and emotions. The boundaries between I and the rest of the family are not so clear when it comes to our ecological impact, and it is simply impossible to separate my individual footprint from the whole.
Staying with a family systems framework, it is worth noting also, that as a member of the family I have the power to influence other family members through the positive environmental changes I choose to make on a personal level:
‘The connectedness and reactivity make the functioning of family members interdependent. A change in one person’s functioning is predictably followed by reciprocal changes in the functioning of others. Families differ somewhat in the degree of interdependence, but it is always present to some degree’. Quote from Bowen Center website.
Daily Footprint Project Daily Log Day #11 Water personal: flush toilet 3 wash face 2 brush teeth 2 wash hands 4 two showers at the gym mom: rinse dishes communal: Electricity/gas personal: electric toothbrush 2 microwave tea 4’ microwave oatmeal 4’ laptop on half day mom: heat chocolate milk heat muffing cook cream of wheat communal: lights Food personal: oatmeal with organic milk organic orange tea organic milk organic chicken soup organic bread mom: organic blueberry muffin organic hot chocolate cream of wheat with organic milk roasted chicken pomagranate communal: Waste personal: toilet paper orange peel chicken bones mom: uneaten baked potato communal: 3 newspaper plastic wrappers Recycling personal: mom: paper bag for muffin cream of wheat paper box communal: 2 papers roll from paper towel Transportation personal: drive to gym 6 miles drive to business presentation 5miles mom: communal: drive to grocery store 4 miles Non food shopping personal: mom: communal: