Friday, February 06, 2009

My Shocking Ecological Footprint

I took a quiz on this Web site called that measures your ecological footprint. I answered the questions as truthfully as I knew how and was shocked to discover that if everyone on the planet lived as I do, we’d need 4.74 earths to support us all. Think of all the people in India and China, all the people living in developing countries. If we all lived the way I do, we’d need 4.74 earth. 4.74!
I was really rather horrified by this, since I recycle, I compost, I use cloth napkins. We even have a small vegetable and herb garden. (Or to be honest, my husband has a vegetable garden for which I provide the compost. And no, I don’t want to take the analogy any further than that!) I recovered from my horror sufficiently to click the “Reduce Your Footprint” button, where I found such as wealth of ways to live sustainably that I was tempted to retreat under a quilt with a dish of chocolate ice cream and watch back to back episodes of iCarly with my eleven-year-old daughter. In the end I was braver than that.
I decided to start by taking better care of my car. I dutifully made a auto maintenance schedule and checked my fluids and tire pressure before filling up. This revealed that I need a new wiper fluid chamber, as my current one leaked wiper fluid on the garage floor. No wonder it was low. I did this two weeks ago, and I’m proud to say that it has taken me two weeks to need another fill up.
My next task was to reduce my dryer use. Already, I tumble our outfits and hang them, which keeps them from looking like thrift store clothes after a couple of washings. I ventured into new territory by tumbling and hanging a load of towels.
When you dry towels in the dryer, especially when you use fabric softener, they come out all fluffy and sweet smelling. I know from experience that when you hang towels on the line to dry in the hot Mexican sun, they end up hard and scratchy. I also know from experience that when you try to hang clothes to dry in the dense, humid air of the Gulf Coast, your clothes will take three days to dry. I know that the simplest solution is to turn off the old brain, throw the wet clothes in the dryer, and be done with it. Still, if you want to see the results of unsustainable practices, take a look at the economy. I’ll bet all those investment bankers weren’t hanging their towels up to air dry.
Because I care about my grandchildren’s grandchildren, here I am, hanging up towels to dry in my utility room. At least now I can't start another load of laundry until they are dry.

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