How GREEN are you living?
I have a confession to make: I am obsessed with minimizing my impact on the planet. Am I the only one? I want to know (take this survey).
Don’t be too impressed; I am far from living as lightly as some. My (wife’s) house is too big, I almost never take the bus, I eat an occasional burger or steak, and I do fly on commercial airliners from time to time.
My obsession is simply this: In everything I do, throughout each and every day, I think about my impact. I evaluate every decision, every action, and – whenever possible – I choose behaviors that have the least impact. This generally means less waste going to the landfill and less energy consumed. The thing that makes me unusual is that I go through the thought process a dozen times a day. Maybe more.
Just to give you an example, I consciously minimize the use of our electric garage door opener. I never use it just to walk out into the driveway. And once a car leaves the garage, it stays out of the garage the rest of the day. I turn off the car if it is going to sit still longer than ten seconds – picking someone up (a pet peeve), having a conversation with someone I run into in a parking lot, waiting on a construction crew, etc. Of course all this would be more impressive if there were simply no car in my garage. Or no garage!
Our house is completely dark at night, except for the one room occupied. I refuse to ride elevators unless I have more than 6 floors to climb. And (this is a pet peeve) I will spend ten minutes hunting for the hidden stairs in buildings designed by clueless architects. We do NOT have a single paper napkin in the house, and I even carry a cloth napkin with me to many events and locations. Spill on the floor? I never reach for a paper towel. It’s cloth rags at our house (the final re-use of worn and tattered clothing). Bottled water? Never!
Could I do better? Absolutely. I’m a work in progress. Still, I’m the subject of family discussions. They humor me, but I’m a novelty. If I left this life tomorrow, the family would go right back to leaving the lights on, using paper towels and disposable plates and utensils at parties, and disposable napkins all the time. Though I do hope this situation is slowly changing.
You may wonder why I do this. We are so far into overshoot, how can using a cloth napkin make any difference? It can’t, unless there are a billion people doing this. How much less CO2 would be added to the atmosphere this month if a billion people considered their impact (and behaved accordingly) multiple times every day?
This is why I want to know – am I the only one? How often do you think about these things? Do you obsess? And what behaviors do you think will make the most difference? Let’s find out. Please take this 3-minute survey. It’s anonymous (so be honest). And I’ll share the results after the survey closes Oct. 5. Feel free to share the survey with friends and colleagues.
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