Ways I’ve gotten greener this year

Greenness is hard to quantify. (In fact, color is hard to quantify, within and without human perspective, but that’s a whole different story.) But in the last year, I think I’ve been hedging towards lime and away from lemon on the color wheel. Comparing this year and previous years:

  • I did not take six (ouch!) transatlantic flights between California and England. Total carbon savings: several tons. I can only defend those flights by saying that for four of them (two in December/January and two in June/July) I was extremely homesick, depressed, and sick to death of my dissertation. 
  • I shortened my commute from 12 miles to 3.  I haven’t given up my car, but I’ve made some progress towards driving less.
  • My lunches no longer involve any packing materials that are not reusable and/or reused. My sandwich and snacks are now contained in highly reusable tupperware rather than plastic bags. Yes, tupperware is plastic…but it’s at least going to serve me for a good long time.
  • My showers have gone from 20 minute soul-cleansing ablutions to 5 minute flings with soap and shampoo. Not entirely without regret.
  • I pay more attention to where my produce comes from. California is one of the places where there is really no excuse not to buy local or at least state-produced food. I can think of a few things California doesn’t produce (bananas, Taiwanese bellfruit, pineapples), but it more than makes up for it with everything else.
  • I have worked out the perfect four bag fabric shopping bag system. Two of my fabric bags live on my passenger seat. The other two live in my trunk and are to be used only if I have been very bad about returning my front seat bags to the car after using them. I can’t remember the last time I took a plastic bag.
  • My lovely Sigg has replaced many disposable water bottles; at least 1-2 a week.
  • I am now a solar enthusiast and can even bore you with the history of photovoltaics.

Naturally, there is much (very much) room for improvement…


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