Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: Climate Change

Last year I participated in Blog Action day because the topic felt so REAL to me, poverty. Mr. P, the kiddos and I lived under the poverty line for several years and in many, many ways it was horrible. But last night, the College Kid asked me what my favorite years were. Interestingly, they are those same years, and the pain of sitting at the Food Stamp office, having our power turned off, and writing a bad check at Kmart for Christmas toys is starting to give way to the memories of starting our Christmas Dinner tradition, two tiny kids in life jackets in the apartment complex pool for hours on end, dollar movies, and studying at McDonald's so the kids could play and we could have free drink refills.

But that is not what today's topic is. Today's topic is Climate Change, which is interesting because I have been in the midst of my own climate change experiment ever since visiting the Museum of Natural History in NYC in August. I do not have a car. I have been bumming rides and riding the U's transit system. I am walking much more. I am burning less fossil fuels. I am reducing my carbon footprint.

I am miserable. I want a car for myself. I want to go back to playing tennis two mornings a week, without having to get up an hour earlier so I can walk to the tennis courts if I don't feel it. I want to be able to go get pedicures. But yesterday was the deal breaker...sorry climate change, I want a car. Yesterday morning I got up at 5am to run and it was pouring and dark. Couldn't go. BUT, if I had a car, I could have just gone to the gym. WHAT? I want a car so I spend time at the gym????? Yikes. I also want to be able to go to lunch at my favorite place and sneak off to matinees on weekdays. I want to be MOBILE. Yes, I could do all of these things with advanced planning and taking the FREE public transportation, but I want to live on a whim. Not very GREEN of me.

Even though I will be quitting my public transportation experiment after only two months plus whatever time it takes me to find a sufficiently sweet ride, Mr. P and I will continue to recycle. Mr. P will still follow me around and turn off lights and televisions that I am not using. Next summer we will do the same thing as this summer (we kept our A/C up TWO degrees from last year) and we will rarely turn the heat on the winter.

What are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint?


SoMi's Nilsa said...

The thing about climate change is that if EACH of us did a few things, then the world would be that much better off. The sad thing is A LOT of people don't do anything at all ... and that's what is hurting our gentle globe. Don't be too hard on yourself about the car thing. Maybe this time around, you'll think twice about how you use what you have?!?

Tammie said...

i agree with the above comment. i think we should always be looking for ways to improve, but you have to do what works for you in your life.

DAVs said...

First off, your first paragraph made me tear up. That is such a sweet memory--I'm sorry times were so tough. To this day all Lee has to do is remind me that he only got ONE Star Wars figurine as a kid (times were very tough for them too) and I will give him permission to get whatever he wants...and naturally, because he's so damn sweet, he never abuses the privilege. But growing up fairly well spoiled, I just have no clue about poverty. For that, I am grateful, but I also suffer a lot of guilt, too...

At any rate, you asked about being green: we gave up meat for animal reasons (a certain youtube video comes to mind) but it definitely helps the environment to go without meat for just one meal per week. We both drive Civics with great gas mileage but we both drive too much (live far from our jobs, eek). We recycle EVERYTHING...from the inside cardboard of the toilet paper roll to the little cardboard box our soap comes in...we have a great system in our garage and we haul it all to the big recycling place every two months or so.

OK, I've definitely hogged up way too much of your comment space:)

Penny said...

I loved public transportation BUT sometimes I want to go somewhere NOW and not in 10 minutes or 1 hour and that is where cars are awesome. Just buy a Honda or a Hybrid or something and then you can feel justified.

Lucy said...

I sometimes remember the 'early years' fondly too!

Oh, yeah, saving the planet, what is my contribution,well, you are waaaaaay ahead of me. I recycle. I love my car. LOOOOVE IT and I would be hard pressed to give it up.

creative kerfuffle said...

i admire you for going w/ out a car for two months. there's no way i could do it. no way. of course we don't have city buses in my little town, but, even if we did, i couldn't do it. i do think more about our car usage though and plan my trips so we aren't wasting time/money/gas. the hubs is also the electricty police.

Not Your Aunt B said...

I think your no car experiment is awesome, but I couldn't do it as no public transportation comes here (not even for the disabled because I live outside the little city limits). We have a big car (a Pilot) and our next car will be a truck or SUV. Not very environmentally friendly, but we are squished in our Honda Accord right now & it will not last much longer (12+ years old). I don't know how people fit into those little hybrid or econo cars. When the kids can put their feet up on my seat by my ears, I need more space (dang car seats!).
But we do recycle everything. I have a garden. I compost. I hand pick weeds which is the biggest pain in the ass. Our caterpillar killer & other bug killers are all green. Our AC is set to 82 (even when it was 100+ outside). We don't turn the heat on unless we absolutely have to. Everything is off and unplugged as much as possible.
There is more I would love to do, but it is expensive. Like one of those rainwater devices or making all of the appliances energy star (we have a new-ish house with some el cheapo appliances like our water heater). Or solar panels. That would be cool. But, it's not going to happen any time soon, so we do what we can. I think that's the main point.

Fatinah said...

if we all took time to give up our vehicles for two months... imagine the world we would live in. You are an inspiration on many fronts missy!!

thanks for sharing that story at the beginning of your post. you reminded me that I have much to be thankful for in my upbringing.

Jill said...

We were poor when the kids were small, too! I remember feeding my family of five on $75 per month in the early 90s. That sucked.
We live in a remote area with little public transportation, so going carless is impossible, but to save money, we definintely don't go to town just because we run out of an ingredient. I plan ahead or do without.
Currently, I drive a Toyota Camry, which gets the same mileage as my Buick LeSabre, so I'm not entirely impressed, but it was free to me, so I can't complain.
We recycle a lot - interestingly, our garbage service is paid for by the bag, and it's been pretty motivating to recycle anything we can. We don't do much composting because when we did, we attracted bears. Bummer, too, because our soil is good, but could be better.
We do about 50% of our heating with wood, instead of fuel oil, it's cheaper and renewable, local, and plentiful here.
I also buy vegetables (as available), and soon, raw milk, locally grown.

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