Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dig: Being a Tree-Hugger

Don't get me wrong. I'm no Ed Begley, Jr. (whose ANNUAL electric bill is $200 because of all his solar-poweredness), I'm more of a fair-weather environmental freak. I kind of dig the feeling I get in my belly when I do my little part to protect this big blue marble that we live on. Here are some things that I do so my grandchildren can enjoy hay fever because the goldenrod has a place to grow and the whole place isn't just paved over like a big parking lot:

I pick up litter. Not all of it but if I see a Snickers wrapper on the ground, I might just pick it up. As you know from a previous post, I don't really understand littering so I'm kind of enabling the inconsiderate assholes who throw their crap on the ground. That means you, Mr. Smoker-Man.

I recycle newspapers, bottles, cans, etc. That's kind of a gimme. Everyone should do that especially if your friendly neighborhood garbage man provides one of those nifty blue container things to put the Target ads, Spaghettios cans and skim (I'm trying to watch my girlish figure)milk jugs in.

I use those funky fluorescent light bulbs at home. Those bastards are expensive but they do last a lot longer. I've been using them for a couple of years now and have yet to replace one.

I use those re-usable canvas bags for my groceries. This one kind of puts me over the edge, I think. I actually bring my own bags with me to the store like a true granola-lover - and one of them is even made of hemp! Unfortunately, I forget to do this sometimes so I still throw away a lot of those damn plastic bags. I have to admit, though, said damn plastic bags are good for throwing away diapers with poo in them. They're not necessary for diapers with just pee but you really don't want a diaper with poo living in your garbage can for a whole week unless they are sealed up sufficiently like the Anal Retentive Chef would do.

I turn off the light in my office at work when I leave it. According to a website that I think did actual research on the subject, if you're going to be gone from your office for more than 15 minutes, you should turn off the light. My co-workers used to make fun of me but after I popped one of them in the nose, they stopped. If you're a cube-dweller your life sucks anyway so you have my permission to run all the electrical appliances you see fit.

I use my own mug at Starbuck's instead of using yet another paper cup. I win three ways on this one. First, I'm not using a paper cup (which isn't even recyclable because there is a small amount of plastic in it). Second, I actually drink less VentiNonfatNoWhipMocha because the mug is a grande size, not venti. Third, the nice people at S'buck's take a cool ten cents off the price for using my own mug! I'm huge! I must confess, though, that this little token of eco-friendliness comes at a cost. See, that mug I'm using is made out of dead dinosaurs which sacrificed themselves to become oil which could be turned into plastic which eventually became my mug. Not very granola-y. For that matter, when I wash said mug, I use electricity to run the dishwasher and natural gas to heat up the water to make it clean. I may have to rethink this one...

I only use cold water to do the laundry. I suppose if I actually worked for a living and my clothes got real dirt on them I might need to use hot water but I'm happy to report that the dirt and odor associated with being a middle-management slacker comes out just fine with cold water!

So those are the things that I do to reduce my carbon footprint - whatever the hell that is. In the scheme of things, I'm pretty much doing the easy stuff which is kind of how I live my life. Even though I drive a Toyota, it's not a Prius - and I don't carpool even though there are a handful of people who work in the same building as me that live within a 5-mile radius of my house. I also still get two newspapers a day even though all the news that I need is available on line (stopping the newspapers might be next environmentally selfless act, actually).

I'll keep you posted on my progress on adding a 200' wind turbine to the top of the house and convincing the family to only flush every other time.