Although it could very well be. No, this is the picture of all the food waste that made its way to the garbage last night, on Day 1 of the Daily Footprint Project. Two day old wilted salad with romaine and radishes. One third uneaten steak from Catherine’s dinner. She does not like to eat leftovers, and I don’t care for red meat. Three quarter left of Angel Food Cake, that I bought for the kids, except it was only Catherine this week, and she can only eat so much of the stuff.
I had never done that before, line up all the food I throw away every day. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture did more to convince me of the decadence of my habits, than days of lecturing from Green Guru. From yesterday’s experiment, I learned a few other things:
- The act of simply writing down all of my actions, made me a lot more aware of what I consume in a day. I consider myself a compulsive label checker, but now I know, a lot escapes my relaxed scrutiny. Sensodyne, the toothpaste I have been using for months, bad stuff. It says to not use it for more than four weeks straight. I am switching to Tom’s. The Mango Tango Odwalla juice? Not organic. The 90% dark chocolate? Organic, but from Ecuador. I also discovered that the paper bags at Whole Foods are totally recyclable. Still I will continue to strive for the green bags . . .
- I got into a dilemma with the raspberries. I could either buy organic ones from Mexico, or local ones that were not organic. Between organic and local, what to do?
- I became a lot more conscious about my driving routes, and tried to make the most of my trips. I was able to squeeze in a grocery stop on the way back from my appointment yesterday.
- I put aside all the fruit and vegetable peelings. There was a whole mountain of it that could have made some nice composting material. Instead, I had to dump it in the garbage. The composter is overdue. If Prad does not come through, I am taking over the compost project.
- When Prad is out of town, I do not cook for myself, and just get takeout soups at Whole Foods. I realize with takeout, I lose control of the sourcing for the ingredients. Organic? Local? No idea. Also, there is the problem of the paper containers for the stuff. I usually put them in recycling, but I am not sure they belong there, with all that wax coating. Takeout is a bad habit. I should go back to cooking more. Or bring my own containers. I have not seen anyone do that yet. Maybe I can lead the way?
- I had a business meeting at the coffee shop. Only there, did I consider the problem of the paper cup. Something else to think about! Bringing my own cup next time.
- All three of my car drives averaged six miles, a perfect distance for biking. I need to conquer the inertia of old habits, and also my fears of getting run over by cars, and invest in an old bike.
- There is this voice in my head that keeps wanting to decide what is wasteful and what is not? I have been doing some research into the environmental habits of developing countries,and I realized, an African woman would have much different standards, and expectations than I do. What constitute a spartan lifestyle to me, may very well be luxury to her. Nowhere did I feel this more than with water. I take water for granted.
- So many of my actions are automatic, that they are not in my ordinary consciousness. It’s not just the toilet flushing, it is using paper towel to wipe every drop, leaving for Whole Foods without the bags, not being aware of what I throw away every day, grabbing the car keys for short errands, . . . It’s been the hardest part, remembering to pay attention, and step out of automatic pilot mode.
I dream of a world where green would be the only option available, so I would not have to think so hard, about what to do, and not do. Right now, it takes a lot of vigilance to navigate around my not so green world.
Daily Footprint Project Daily Log Day #1 Water personal: flush toilet 11 wash hands 2 11 wash face 11 brush teeth 1i rinse off shower at gym shampoo shower at gym mom: rinse dishes 11 communal: Electricity/gas personal: microwave tea 2’ electric toothbrush 11 laptop on all day microwave soup x2 microvave cup of milk 2’ mom: cook cream of wheat on stove3’ stir fry artichokes in wok boil artichoke on stove heat bread in toaster oven broil steak on stove communal: lights in the morning, kitchen and office Food personal: organic: local grapes Chocolate, Rainforest Alliance producer, from Ecuador soup from Whole Foods takeout in paper carton coffee at Peets, paper cup, plastic straw, paper wrapper organic raspberries organic oatmeal, organic milk slice of organic bread cup of soup from Whole Foods 3 madeleines, non organic mom: organic: grapes Odwalla Mango Tango Krafts cream of wheat with organic milk steak, asparagus, bread, artichoke, all organic except for bread from Al Fornaio communal Garbage personal: scraps, should be composted mom: saran wrap prepackaged asparagus half of whole salad (head of lettuce and bunch of radishes) almost whole angel foodcake 1/3 uneaten steak communal: two newspaper plastic wrappers Transportation personal: Round trip drive to appointment 6 miles, stopped at grocery store on way back Round trip drive to appointment 6 miles Round trip drive to health club 6 miles mom communal Non food shopping personal mom communal