Can we give up modern conveniences for a sustainable lifestyle? Yes, no, maybe so? We have cellphones, televisions, computers, home appliances, vehicles and a whole lot more. What did we do before the inventions of some of these items? Oh, please, so archaic. Must we go back? Which of these should we give up to go green? Absolutely none… right now. There are many in the world who do not have any of these items, gadgets, necessities for the American way of life; however, that does not make their practices any greener than ours. American services, amenities and regulations make labor and recreation more efficient and allow for corrections of some environmental damages caused by our footprint on this earth. A community may have little or no amenities and regulations. Even with less generated usage, waste and pollution per capita, their local environment may not be able to absorb what little is generated and therefore, not provide a healthy environment for people, animals and plants. In other words, a community of 80 may have 1 pot to piss in and it will fill up and stink fast, but here, we have 10 pots per person. Therefore, we can stay in place longer and live our lives with less concern about lack of potable water or usable soil to grow food. That other community may have to move on sooner rather than later to seek better conditions and cleaner water. For some, that less tolerable situation may be a haven for the next group that settles. I cannot imagine.
Just because we have those powerful energy using things, does not make us inconsiderate of others. It would just be courteous if we did not use them in excess. I’m not even saying, “Throw out your stuff”. It’s bought and not broken. Use it until it breaks (we all know that gadgets are designed for a short lifespan); recycle it (if possible); get a less impactful reclaimed or new version; or don’t replace it at all. I do not advocate an all or nothing approach to going green. That approach is not realistic and can be wasteful and expensive. Not all of us have the financial green to start all over and the U.S. is not set up to be green. One day at a time, within your budget and within your comfort level. Going slow will help develop the buy-in and support you will need from your family and circle of friends. Soon enough, they may give deference to your desires; may help you accomplish your goals; and may eventually convert themselves. If anything, a simpler lifestyle saves time, money, space and is a whole lot less stressful.
For the big picture outlook, time and space is on our side. We have not reached the point of no return in America. But, that day may come. We can push the date out for the sake of our descendants. If the corporate world and greedy people in general choose not to think beyond themselves, we should because it is the right thing to do and there are a whole lot more of us with good intentions than them. Soon enough, it will be cool enough to simplify and the companies and government will follow us. I started in easy mode. It was easy to recycle paper. Since my neighborhood had a recycling program, I split up paper and other stuff. Next thing I knew, my County made it easier for me by taking mixed recyclables. It was even easier to let the grass grow a little bit longer before I cut it and when I did, left the cuttings. No commercial fertilizer; real easy. Here are a few other easy things:
Shopping: yeah, right; I’ve been donating as much stuff as I can as fast as I can
Yard: diverse plant life (weeds); solar powered vibrator to scare away the rascals
Washing machine: cold water on 6-10 minutes setting
Small appliances: unplugged ‘til needed
Body: Quick shower, no baths (choice, but I do not knock the spa)
Television: off most of the time
Lights: off (kids go to bed early)
Cellphone: really old version; no internet, limited texting
Computer: unplugged when not in use; power saver mode when on.
Home: little chilly in here, but we will survive the 60° night setting and 62°-65° day setting; kids still running around in shorts/t-shirts
Lunch: made at home for work and school
I’ll blog the harder stuff later ‘cause you can’t be green and be lazy. J
What are you doing??