Karen‘s response is worth highlighting I think, as it raises a key question, not just for me, but many others as well:
i guess it’s not really what to do re: the dishes, but more the how does one small act make a difference in either the short or long of it. The media has turned going green or being green into a churn that has created concern, awareness and for some action – even if that action looks like switching to cloth napkins or turning off the lights. We all can do more to do our part. This message is now clear. It has also created stress, or wonder to the point of panic or a feeling of being overwhelmed. She was asking how do we know or where do we find out if what we are doing even helps at all ??? Sortof like proove it. The question was more about should I do dishes by hand for the rest of my life or will a year begin to see impact and how will I know if that one act even makes a dent in it ?? She wants to do the stuff that counts without being like no impact man!!
If we are going to go through all that trouble, it better be worthwhile. Also, it is a matter of placing one’s energy on the right things. An essential part of sustainable development, is helping people figure out what behavioral changes they can sustain over the long run. As I write this I can hear the ubergreenies out there. Everything counts, just do it. The problem is I am just a Green Girl Wannabe, and I represent the majority of America.