It was my fault. I opened the refrigerator door more often than my mom does when she is by herself. The temperature changes on the gallon of milk on the door make it spoil before we could use it all. Just how many times did we open the fridg door? Is the sour milk a measure of wasted energy?
I started thinking about daily habits. Could I accumulate all the food next to the fridg and open the door just once? Did hand washing each plate separately make sense, or was the dishwasher more efficient? What about trips to the store? How many trips does it take to Home Depot to finish a project?
Garrison Keillor’s column in our Sunday paper, was uncharacteristically despondent, as he identified the US as a “great nation immobilized by navel-gazers and poseurs” and “self-centered, short-sighted people, intent on comfort, averse to sacrifice. We know this. Knowing it does not empower us to change.” His mood was in response to the oil disaster in the gulf, and lest you start pointing fingers, Garrison is quick to curve those back around to point at ourselves - the owners of companies, the voters, we the people of the elected government.
Can we change? If we can, it will start with a paradigm shift in our thinking about our own microcosm and our own concentric rings of influence. If you are mad about a child abuse you read in the paper, rather than march in a protest rally, reach out to children in your neighborhood. If you are frustrated with litter, then make it a practice every day to pick up a section of street which you walk along. You may find, as I once did, that it inspires the neighbors to do the same.
And if you are concerned about the oil spill - take a look at your own spigot. How much of the energy you use is wasted, with its related carbon footprint impacting the environment much as the oil leaking into the Gulf. For about $25, you can buy a Kill-a-Watt Power meter to measure actual consumption of appliances and to discover phantom loads. EPA has a Household Emissions Calculator , Energy Star offers Home Energy Yardstick and even Microsoft offer the Hohm site to help you compare yourself to the Jones’. Wow – imagine neighborhoods where the one-upmanship was based on energy reduction, vs. power toys parked in the driveway.
There is no point in blaming the dairy or the fridg manufacturer for our sour milk. It is time we evolved our conscious to have an awareness and acceptance of our own realities. These are the first step of the AA and Weightwatchers plans. What’s our plan?
The Government of Canada has organized them all onto one great webpage.
Squidoo offers a full comparison of carbon footprint calculators, to help monitor your own activities.
P.S. For those who have been stymied by comment posting restrictions, we now have freedom of speech - the problem has been fixed. Thanks for your patience.