How am I doing, I ask myself? Answer: I have a long way to go, but at least I’m conscious. I don’t buy bottled water (except for an occasional sparkling water), I put-and-take at the local dump, I hang most of my laundry, and very seldom use the dishwasher. I love the idea of taking my coffee mug, cutlery and Tupperware when I go out to eat. We keep a cold house in the winter and in the summer run our bedroom window air conditioner only about eight or ten nights.
Although there’s nothing more yummy than a medium-rare hamburger cooked on the grill, but I could let that one go. Money management isn’t my job, but I’ll check it out. I love public transportation, but there isn’t much of it around here. I have to drive twenty minutes to the nearest stop to catch the T into Boston.
I must confess that driving back and forth to the cottage by the sea all winter does not help my carbon footprint, although once I’m there I hardly ever hit the road. But the ‘Fly less’ idea is not a happy thought for me. I’m going to Italy on Sunday, and flying is my only option. Yes, I have a long way to go!
The irony of all this is that Dellarobia, the protagonist in Flight Behavior, scores high. She doesn’t have a long way to go because she can’t afford to; she doesn’t go out to eat; she shops exclusively at second-hand stores; stocks and mutual funds, what are they?; no computer; cool house; husband’s truck is on its third motor; excellent well water; the red meat she eats is from the sheep that the family raises on the farm. As far as ‘fly less’ is concerned, she’d probably say, ‘fly never.’
Category One: Food and Drink
• Bring your own Tupperware to a restaurant for leftovers, as often as possible.
• Try bringing your own mug for tea or coffee.
• Carry your own cutlery, use no plastic utensils.
• Carry your own Nalgene bottle instead of buying bottled water.
• Try to reduce the intake of red meat in your diet.
Category Two: Everyday Necessities
• Try to buy reused.
• Plan your errand route so you drive less.
Category Three: Financial
• Switch some of your stocks and mutual funds to socially responsible investments.
Category Four: Home/office
• Make sure computers get recycled.
• Turn off your motor when not in use.
Category Five: Household
• Switch your light bulbs to CFL. Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances.
• Set your thermostat two degrees cooler in winter and higher in summer
Category Six: Transportation
• Ride your bike or use public transportation
• Buy low-emission vehicle
• Properly inflate your tires and maintain your car.
• Fly less.