Posts Tagged ‘unplugging appliances’

Day 12 of Daily Footprint Project. It’s been in the back of my mind, these last few days.

Rationalization in the Not So Green Mind

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


flush toilet 2
wash face 2
brush teeth 2
wash hands 4
two showers at the gym
rinse dishes
run full dishwasher
rinse salad, veggies


electric toothbrush 2
microwave tea 2’
microwave oatmeal 4’
laptop on half day
laptop plugged in overnight
desk lamp plugged in overnight
heat chocolate milk
toaster for guests’ toasts 3’
run full dishwasher
cook crepes on stove


oatmeal with organic milk
organic persimmons
organic milk
pastry from Whole Foods
organic hot chocolate
toasts for guest
tea for guests
organic raspberries for guests
organic chicken
organic salad
takeout pizza


toilet paper
3 newspaper plastic wrappers
raspberries plastic container
chicken bones
vegetable peels


2 papers
pizza carton box


drive to gym 6 miles
drive to grocery store 4 miles

Non food shopping


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Living with Green Guru – Prad’s nickname, of late -, is not easy sometimes. This morning, I had the unpleasant surprise of my electric toothbrush running out of electricity, half way as I was trying to brush my teeth. Without telling me, Green Guru had decided to unplug it the night before. Little did he know, that it needed to be recharged. I was not pleased, and I let him know.

Yesterday, we had another squabble, after he informed me of his intention to unplug the dryer. His plan was to have us all quit using the dryer, cold turkey. It was met with plain outrage on my part. Yes, I do plan, some day to make the shift to a clothesline, but not yet. Give me some time, I need to psych myself up, for such a radical shift. There is also the issue of the kids, and of bringing them along in the decision. Ours are teenagers, still protesting from the recent blending of our two families, and going through some major angst of their own. I suggested to Green Guru, that maybe he could first install a clothesline in our backyard, and inspire us all through his example. In the mean time, the dryer will stay plugged in.

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