I can’t help feeling guilty after being on vacation. It’s not so much about taking time off from work or drinking cocktails every night that bothers me. It is more about being faced with all the ways I was adding to my carbon footprint along the way. One biggie is six of us flying across the country, not to mention all the water we consumed in plastic water bottles. At least I can blame some of that on the airlines. Learning the hard way, I will never again attempt to carry a container of anything other than 3 ounces or less of liquid clearly displayed in a quart-sized ziplock bag. Water can only be consumed by using a water fountain past security or buying bottled water in the terminal, again after you’ve gone through security, so don’t even try to take your own water bottle unless you pack it.
In climates warmer than ours, air conditioning is considered a necessity. We didn’t have it growing up except for the window unit in my parent’s bedroom but then again, it wasn’t as consistently hot, not even that long ago. Finding a place to recycle all the beer and wine bottles (not mine, of course) took some effort and I shudder to think of all the loads of laundry the kids generated.
Coming home to a huge stack of mail, mostly catalogs and magazines was the last straw. I’m still sorting through these, recycling most of them unread. My internal waste-meter has been off the charts. Luckily, while catching up on the New York Times I came across an article by Michelle Slatalla about a website called Carbonrally.
The idea behind Carbonrally is to offer “individuals and groups a fun, simple and social way to have a measurable impact on climate change”. They post a featured challenge every few weeks, most of which are small actions that you may already be doing. An example is using a clothesline for a few loads of laundry during the month. They tell you the result of your small action, in this case — “by line-drying 1 laundry load per week, you will reduce your CO2 emissions by 18.8 lbs after one month”. Then they post the impact of everyone who has accepted this challenge on their website — “805 people have reduced CO2 emissions by 6.42 tons by completing this challenge so far. That’s equal to turning off the electricity of 5 homes for about 1 month”. Hmmm…. this sounds sort of like one of Oprah’s weight loss challenges for those of us trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
This sounds like something I can do. The next step is to form a team — some family members are already on board. I’ll keep you posted……….