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Posts Tagged ‘green consciousness’

Day 30 of Daily Footprint Project. A good time to conclude the project. And to reflect on the lessons learned during these thirty days spent under the close scrutiny of the green lens:

How to evaluate one’s personal environmental impact, is still up for discussion:

Starting with today. I drove a lot today. Some of the trips I could have done on ‘Pervenche‘, no question. That would have meant one extra hour spent on the bike. One less hour to work on two green projects I am involved with. What’s more important, to try to contribute to the global warming solution on a global scale, through my professional endeavors, or on a personal level through my daily actions? This is a question that keeps coming up, and I have heard two school of thoughts on the matter. One says, you’ve got to be pure and try to align your personal actions with your talk, as best as you can. According to these folks, I should have biked, and then maybe spent an extra hour working. The other school says, you’ve got to look at the net effect of your actions. If, through your work, you are going to mitigate more than your personal part of carbon emissions, then you have the license to sin a bit, as long as it is in the service of the green cause. When it was found that Al Gore was not as green as he could be, the two sides went at it. I say, they are probably both right. My own line of conduct is be as conscious as you possibly can of your actions, and if you are going to sin, do it full knowingly, and try to make up some other way. And I don’t mean carbon offsets here . . . Although, here again, if I am going to fly, I will purchase carbon offsets.

Green consciousness eventually leads to more responsible behavior:

Second, I have noticed my green conscience has become a lot more acute as a result of this daily process of systematic observation. I would like to pause and talk about the difference between observing, and judging. It is important to not censor and let the inner critic have a field day with one’s observations. That would be missing the point. No, the most important thing is to become more conscious. Without willing it, the conscience becomes strengthened, and it is only a matter of time, before one starts acting more responsibility. This morning at the pool, was a perfect example. As I was about to step into the hot tub, I noticed the jets had not been turned on. There are two buttons, one for the jets on the right side, the other for the jets on the left side. I thought why turn both on? I am the only one, and I will only be using one jet. Then comes this old lady, who gets annoyed. Why aren’t both sides turned on? It did not even occur to her why both jets would not be on. This is what I mean by being unconscious.

Green Wannabes need external help to go green all the way:

A well developed green conscience can only go so far however. There has been plenty of instances, many documented in this blog, when I didn’t have any excuses for not behaving green, and I still went ahead and behaved badly, out of sheer laziness, or because I had other things on my mind, or I fell back into old habits. I am just a Green Girl Wannabe, not UberGreenie. And I need help. Many of my comments on the Huffington Post deal with that reality, and the fact that I, and I would venture to say, most Americans, no matter how well intentioned, need some external help to go green all the way. In my public letter to the future President of the United States, I listed fifteen things I would need from our next leader. These mostly have to do with incentive, policies, taxes, laws and regulations, standards, public infrastructures, and technologies. You’ve got to make it easy for folks to green their lives. Cheap, convenient, efficient, appealing, fun, and impossible to not follow.

Daily Footprint Project
Daily Log
Day #30

Water
personal:
flush toilet 3
wash face 2
brush teeth 2
wash hands 5
shower at pool 2
mom:
wash salad
communal:
rinse dishes

Electricity/gas
personal:
electric toothbrush 4’
microwave tea 2’
microwave milk 2’
laptop on all day
microwave oatmeal 4’
microwave soup  3’
mom:
boil pasta
communal:
lights

Food
personal:
tea
organic milk
organic apples 2
organic chocolate
oatmeal
takeout chicken soup from Whole Foods
whole wheat bread 
mom:
cheese pasta
salad
communal:

Waste
personal:
toilet paper
soup carton
mom:
communal:
3 newspaper plastic wrappers

Recycling
personal:
mom:
communal:
2 papers
junk mail

Transportation
personal:
mom:
communal:
drive friend to airport 45 miles
drive to pool 6 miles
drive to night meeting 2 miles
drive to grocery store 5 miles

Non food shopping
personal:
mom:
communal:

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Robert Reich’s ‘Divided Mind’

Robert Reich was the guest on NPR’s All Things Considered a few days ago. The occasion was the release of his new book, “Supercapitalism”. His point, about the divided mind of the consumer and citizen really caught my attention. We are all two people, according to him. A consumer at the mercy of capitalism, and a citizen at the service of democracy. The consumer has taken over, and the citizen is no longer doing its job. We need to reevaluate our priorities and work on strengthening our democracy.

The challenges of being a good green citizen

This whole business of consumer versus citizen takes a special significance in the current environmental battle. Robert Reich made the following argument. You may be willing to take all the steps to become a good green citizen, but how do you know that you are not going to be just one amongst a small minority? In which case, you run the risk of making all these sacrifices for nothing. In the absence of a federated effort amongst citizens, that lets you know that we are all in it together, nothing is going to change, you have very little incentive to take action. Point well taken, Mr Reich.

The power of green networks

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the power of small acts and individual action. I even called Rosa Parks to the rescue. I was trying to convince myself that whatever I do, no matter how small, does matter. Robert Reich called my bluff. The real truth is, I am a consumer first, and something is going to have to happen at the collective level, in order for the green citizen in me to spring into real action. Maybe Karel Baloun‘s got something going after all? ‘I am Green’, his new application on Facebook is an attempt at using the power of social networks to bring together green minded folks, and inspire them to help each other become green citizens.

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