Posts Tagged ‘priorities’

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.

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Revisited raw numbers on US greenhouse gases emissions, on the Environmental Protection Agency website. Not an easy task, as the numbers are not aggregated with the average reader in mind. All numbers in million metric tons of CO2 equivalents.

Industrial processes: 2,039 (from producing all the stuff we consume)

Transportation: 2,014, of which 60% is from personal cars, 40% diesel fuels heavy duty vehicles and aircrafts

Commercial: 1,238 (from selling all he stuff we buy)

Residential: 1,248, mostly in heating/cooling, lighting, and cooking

Agriculture: 659, about half from fertilizing crops, the rest in electricity

That’s a hell of a lot of CO2 and other nasty gases we release each year in the air! In the end, nothing I did not know already, but it was important for me to come to my own conclusions and priorities. Also, I figured if I am going to make a few changes, I might as well focus on the biggest villains.

#1. All these things I buy, BAD. I need to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

#2. Got to turn off the electricity around the house whenever possible, and be easy on the thermostat for the heater

#3. Start biking, walk, take the train, and stay away from the car or carpool as much as possible

#4. Buy organic, buy local

I like that it is a short list. Four items, that many I can remember, and it does not feel as overwhelming as some of the other lists I have seen. The most difficult thing for me will be #1, as I love to shop!

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