Oftentimes we hear reports about how changing a light bulb will not make a bit of a difference in the fight against climate change and that everyone must make huge sacrifices in order to have any effect. I say don’t listen to them! You should do what you can and what you feel comfortable with; if you feel fine moving into an earthship and living off the grid, then by all means please do! But if you only feel like you can change a light bulb and maybe buy organic bananas, then please…do that as well and do not feel guilty about it.
All the small acts by millions of people really do add up, and you have to keep that in mind as you do your little part.
All anyone can ask you to do is something small, as asking people to change their entire lifestyle, ride only their bikes, grow all their own food, install solar panels on everything, etc., will only serve to turn some people off from doing anything at all! Of course the more we all do the better off we will be, and doing more than the average person will benefit everyone in the long run. But while climate change is real and could be very, very bad for the human race, sometimes those of us involved in the movement forget that not everyone is willing to forgo some comforts to try to save the planet…myself included. Do I want every person on the planet to get onboard and do as much as they can? Of course. Do I think they will? Nope. So encouraging even the smallest changes from people is way more tactful than proclaiming them “enemies of the environment”. Don’t you think?
I am guilty of many things that would not be considered “best” for the environment.
We drive a Subaru Forester rather than a Toyota Prius. I really like Twizzlers – they are my favorite food group outside of yogurt. Not all my clothing is organic cotton or hemp. My cat does not eat the natural, organic cat food. And I like my electronics – my Mac Pro which I write this site on, my iPhone that serves as my mobile office, or my flat-screen TV which brings me 200 satellite channels. Not one of us is perfect in our quest to be more “green” – and for some of us to call out others who may not be as green is not fair. Yes, I still get mad when I see a soccer Mom driving her 1.2 children to school in a shiny black SUV that has never seen dirt, never mind a rocky road. The fact that my town doesn’t recycle plastic infuriates me. But still, I power on, thinking I am doing the best that I can at this point in my life. Sure, we are looking at real estate that either is or can be solar-powered. But am I willing to live in a tent? Sorry, no.
If you replaced ONE single incandescent light bulb with a CFL, you would reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 pounds each year.
If you turned your thermostat down 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer, you would reduce your CO2 emissions by about 2,000 pounds each year.
If you could wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket, you would reduce your CO2 emissions by about 1,000 pounds each year. You could save another 550 pounds per year by setting the thermostat no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you could use a clothesline to dry your clothes 6 months out of the year, you would reduce your CO2 emissions by about 700 pounds each year.
This post is not meant to start a war over who is doing enough or not enough – it is just a reminder that everyone can and should do their part as much as possible. Is your 90 year old grandfather going to switch the way he has lived his life for 90 years? I doubt it…but cut him some slack, he is 90! Teach your friends, help your family, and just do the best you can – hopefully everyone will eventually be kicking in to the best of their ability. Just don’t let anyone you know give in because they think the little things don’t matter – because they most certainly do.
Photo by Daveybot