This morning, after I dutifully churned out 1294 words for the day, I had a couple of minutes to spare before my first class. My email informed me that I was one of 1000 participants selected to take a survey. No, I’m not special or anything — Michigan students were randomly chosen. The drawing for a $50 e-certificate from iTunes, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble piqued my interest and I decided to click on the link. The next 15 minutes and 20 or so questions proceeded to make me feel like a horrible human being.
Was I aware of the university’s ongoing efforts to protect the Huron River? No.
Did I set my thermostat 65 degrees or below in the winter months? Definitely not…can I blame bad circulation and extreme sensitivity to cold?
How often did I purchase grass-fed beef? Um, how do you know the difference?
How often do you purchase locally grown or processed foods? Oh, hey, I went to the farmer’s market a few weeks ago. And I buy from Trader Joe’s! They’re local, right? Uh-oh, I’m pretty sure my mustard was imported from France.
Do you use motion sensor outlet plugs? What the hell are those?
Needless to say, on my way to Spanish Linguistics lecture, I had plenty to ponder. Generally, I consider myself someone who’s concerned about the environment. I wholeheartedly believe global warming/climate change is real. Heck, look at the East Coast right now. Sometimes, though, I lose faith in humanity and it’s so hard to believe that me — just one person — could ever make a difference. I feel like for every pound of carbon I don’t produce, a hundred more pounds are emitted from building the next Apple knockoff store in China. How can I ever compete?
Yet all social movements were begun with a few lonely souls. Not to say that I’m striving for the Nobel Peace Prize or anything, but it’s a fact that individuals can make a difference. Upon further thought, I decided to adhere to the following rules throughout my lifetime:
- Never own a car. Well, I kind of already own a car. I guess my goal is not to use a car on a daily basis. I aspire to live in an area where I can either walk, bike, or take public transportation to school/work/grocery shopping.
- Never use air conditioning. I can’t stand the cold, but Americans are really babies about summer heat. No, it doesn’t make your company cool (in the figurative sense, of course) to set the thermostat at 65 degrees all summer long. Most buildings in Europe don’t even have AC installed.
- Buy organic, bio-based, local, and hormone-free products. Although they may be slightly more expensive, the health and environmental benefits far outweigh the additional cost.
- Plant my own garden. This is something I’ve always wanted to do anyway, but now I’m more motivated.
- Keep my own chicken coop. I don’t think I could eat a bird I’d killed myself, but fresh eggs sound delicious.
- Buy secondhand appliances and furniture. I love antique shops and flea markets anyway, but now I’ll also hit up Craiglist or Ebay for appliances. No wedding registry for me!
- Procreate at most twice. Overpopulation is a serious imminent problem and people should seriously consider the morality behind having more than two biological children. If you, like me, want a large family, go the Jolie-Pitt route.
- Instill love of nature in children. A real childhood is spent outdoors, without electronics or Internet. It always makes me sad how toddlers these days need technology to function.
How often do you think about the environment? Does it affect the daily lifestyle decisions you make? How are some ways you sacrifice for the global good?