Day 12 of Daily Footprint Project. It’s been in the back of my mind, these last few days.
I noticed I started not unplugging my computer at night. Not a big deal, I told myself. Such a small thing. Even the outlet looks so small. How much harm can be done? I am allowed to slip once in a while. Plus I have been so busy. I want to make sure my laptop is all fired up, ready to go, as soon as I get up. Can’t stand the inconvenience of plugging it again, and waiting for the screen to come up. The thought came up every night. I should not be doing this. Each time, quickly dismissed. Such a small thing. So that I could pretend, and go on with an almost clean conscience.
‘Go Ahead, Rationalize. Monkeys Do It, Too.‘, an article in this week’s New York Times Science Section, reports interesting findings from an experiment by three Yale researchers. What they found, is that the way we deal with cognitive dissonance – the clashing of conflicting thoughts -, is a very primitive process. Monkeys do it, and so do four year olds. They eliminate the disturbing thought, and rationalize the chosen one. Not much conscious thought goes into the process. This is an adaptive behavior, that allows us to move on.
There is a lot of rationalization going on in the not so green mind. And as the Yale research shows, this is a behavior deeply rooted in evolutionary utility. The fact that it is largely unconscious makes it even more potent. One way to depotentiate that behavior, is to make it conscious, by bringing it out into the open.
And of course, I need to mention the power strip solution. I had several strips lying in the basement. The least I can do was hook one up. Done!
Daily Footprint Project Daily Log Day #12 Water personal: flush toilet 2 wash face 2 brush teeth 2 wash hands 4 two showers at the gym mom: rinse dishes communal: run full dishwasher rinse salad, veggies Electricity/gas personal: electric toothbrush 2 microwave tea 2’ microwave oatmeal 4’ laptop on half day laptop plugged in overnight desk lamp plugged in overnight mom: heat chocolate milk communal: toaster for guests’ toasts 3’ lights run full dishwasher cook crepes on stove Food personal: oatmeal with organic milk organic persimmons tea organic milk mom: pastry from Whole Foods organic hot chocolate communal: toasts for guest tea for guests organic raspberries for guests organic chicken organic salad takeout pizza crepes Waste personal: toilet paper mom: communal: 3 newspaper plastic wrappers raspberries plastic container chicken bones vegetable peels Recycling personal: mom: communal: 2 papers pizza carton box Transportation personal: drive to gym 6 miles mom: communal: drive to grocery store 4 miles Non food shopping personal: mom: communal: