Tuesday, January 02, 2007

You Don't Need a Weatherman

Although An Inconvenient Truth came out awhile ago, it seems that the effect is still rippling out in impacts small and large. In several different conversations this week, people have mentioned the movie in the context of things they are doing differently. With the November elections just barely behind us, and the presidential contenders just starting to ramp up, it feels like the weather is finally changing across the USA - you can almost feel the wind blowing from another direction. Here's hoping it's a strong and steady wind, one that will bring real and lasting change.

I sometimes think about all of the little things that we can do, things that are not so very difficult and seem like a drop in the bucket. But if every person chose to do them, the impact would be huge. We've seen this with changes that are already happening. Recycling is a frequently quoted example. It took awhile to get the ball rolling, but now enough people are doing it to make a real difference. If everyone took one car-free day a week, gas consumption and emissions would drop dramatically. Or made a commitment to buy one food locally that they now purchase from a regular store. Or turned their thermostat down two degrees, a barely noticeable amount, took one minute less in the shower, turned off lights they weren't using, installed compact flourescents or energy-saving blinds.

In 2007, I have some very broad goals in mind for sustainability, and some very specific things too. Some of my specifics are:

- One car-free day a week (or more) in the winter, two or more in the summer.
- Drive 500 fewer gas-fueled miles than last year (this has been a goal of mine - that I've met! - for the last few years)
- Join a CSA
- Shop at the Farmer's market every Tuesday in the summer
- Get another set of chicks in the spring, so we can have more home-grown eggs again
- Find a local source for cow's milk
- Glean more fruits and nuts in the fall
- Start canning again this fall
- Another degree down on the thermostat (we've gone from 67 five years ago to 60 now)
- Bring disposable gloves in the car for picking up garbage at beaches and campsites

As we all make New Year's resolutions this time of year, I hope we are all thinking of not just goals for ourselves and our families, but for our planet and its diminishing resources as well.

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