So we have a new(-ish) radio station in the DC Metro area called 94.7- "The Globe". I kind of like it, which I guess is a sign of being finally weaned off of Album 88.5, Atlanta's college station that was just as likely to play Ugly Duckling or the Fiery Furnaces as Gregorian Chant.(Oh how I miss that!) "The Globe" isn't quite as musically diverse, but it is distinctively upbeat, in contrast to the other dominant local station DC 101, which has a brash, frequently sexist, and Lincoln Park-loving style that makes me crazy. The Globe is way calmer: along with chirpy deejays and nostalgic alt-rock, there are occasional tips on how to save the planet, one tiny action at a time.
Having this blast at me right before the new R.E.M. song always leads me to thinking (angst-fully) about my daily actions and their potential impact.
For all the millions of ideas about how YOU! can save the planet from our inevitable descent into a climate change disaster, its very difficult to actually gather a comprehensive plan for living wisely. Well, its not that its difficult- more like, contradictory and confusing. For instance, you could unplug all of your appliances at night, but turning on a desktop computer everyday is enough to undo all that hard work. You could try to use cold water washing dishes, but doesn't it seem to take longer and defeat the purpose? And using re-usable napkins and diapers seems like a good idea, but aren't washing machines huge energy-drainers?
...And on the other side of the spectrum are the rich-people ideas. I'm thrilled for people that can afford install solar-powered toilets and bamboo kitchen flooring, but unless its IKEA-priced and fit for a rental, its not coming to my abode.
The problem with these kinds of actions isn't that they don't work, but that they seem to require expert intervention to make it work. I'm of the opinion that you don't need a PhD in Environmental studies to make a difference. Isn't it possible that just doing a few things, consistently, could make a huge difference if done on a large scale? In my opinion, and I'm no expert, 3 moderately sized life-style changes could make a huge impact that would negate the little fuck-ups we all make everyday when forgetting to unplug the toaster.
2. Gardening/ composting
3. Going vegan
I have done all three of these things, but I never seem to do them at the same time. Its kind of funny, because they feed into each other a bit, don't they? Biking requires healthy, high energy food, the likes of which a vegan diet is well-equipped to offer. Gardening and composting are both well suited to vegetarians, since after all, you can't grow animals on your patio like you can zucchini, and second, you can't (or shouldn't) compost dairy and meat products.
All of these tactics target major polluters and energy wasters- cars, the factory farming industry, the produce industry- but they are all also personally exciting and fun. (Somewhat unlike, say, not wearing socks for a year or replacing all your lightbulbs.) And the bottom line is, these practices get you outside (or at least to a farmers market) and interacting with the world around you to the extent that you can no longer ignore it.
And isn't that kind of the point?