Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Supplemental Post - Why Am I Here?

Why I Sometimes Give very small tips for a VERY BIG PROBLEM

I received a comment yesterday from one of my loyal readers (yes, I have them. In fact, if I believe my free stats counter, I have twelve of them. So There.) that questioned why some of my tips are, well, downright puny. I hope he doesn't mind me copying the comment, but here's a portion of it:

I love what you are doing with this blog, believe me, but this post is tantamount to procrastinating the really big, really polluting, planet heating things like cars and air conditioning. Check out how air tight houses with A/C are crammed with high concentrations of the pollutants not filtered out of the environmental air. ATM slips!?! 30 sheets of paper…Cheryl Crowe said use one pane of tp!

At first I was hurt, then angry, then in denial, then realized he was right. BUT, there is a reason for this (other than I am a self-proclaimed lazy suburbanite mom). In fact, there are two reasons:

  1. When I started this blog, it was a way for me to make myself accountable. The idea was that I would post each day a change that I had made that lessened my environmental impact. If others happened to glean something from it, that would be an added bonus. So, I haven't talked about cars or A/C or planes or coal mining because I haven't done anything about those things... yet. To me, personally, it defeats the purpose of this exercise if I give tips on things I haven't experienced. Plus I would feel like a big, fat hypocrite if I told everyone to stop driving SUV's while I tool around town in my minivan.
  2. Somethings I just can't afford to do right now or physically am unable to do. I would LOVE to post about composting, line drying clothing and taking public transportation, but right now I can't afford a worm bin, am physically unable to drive a clothesline pole in the ground and don't have access to PT where I live. So until I get some extra spending cash or hope that Santa gets my letter, I don't feel like I can post about them.

However, I am nothing, if not flexible. So I leave it up to you, dear readers. Should I abandon my initial purpose of self-realization for the greater good of mankind? Or , would you prefer to hear about how I am doing on this quest, even if that means crappy tips for you? Either way is fine with me.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave me your comments :-)

PS... If you're lucky enough to meet Cheryl Crowe, I'd think twice before shaking her hand...yucky.


gregra&gar said...

lol, I won't be doing any meet and greet with Cheryl anytime soon.

Whatever you do, don't stop posting on your progress to lessen your impact on the health of the earth. You are a wonderful example of the effort, and examples are the only lessons that work.

I do question your assertion that a compost pile is a process one must afford, since the only expense is ones time and effort, and the savings are immeasurable, If you build it, the worms will come!

Getting active in your community to improve public transportation is another, non-expense item one may try. We have got to get rid of cars.

Once again, please continue your inspiring efforts to find ways to show love for our planet.

Anonymous said...

I read you almost everyday, i love what you post becuse i can try them too, vs telling me to say go to rallies or protest something, these tips i can try at home and see how they work. I have allready switched to glass milk. and use freecycle.

Anonymous said...

'Tis better to light one little candle then to curse the darkness


we do what we can, keep up the good work !

Heather said...

Some people live in suburban housing developments where worm farms and composts in the yard are simply not allowed. These same housing communities frequently have strict regulations on what's allowed in yards - I know of several communities near me who have banned clotheslines.

Applaud her for what she's doing. Don't throw tomatoes at her for what she's NOT doing.

If you're looking for a radical blog that lists some more hard-core "green" tips, look around and you'll find them. They've been done a million times.

What Erin is doing is something new - give her a bit of credit. She deserves it.

Felix said...

I enjoy your blog too, especially the originality of many of your ideas (even the little ones!) So please don't feel hurt by the following; it is not meant as criticism and is definitely not meant to be malicious.

But as an observation, wow -- your life seems pretty high maintenance! There are so many things you have to deal with that I don't seem to have to. E.g., straws (I don't seem to recall using more than a couple each year, even as a kid), coffee and coffee filters (ditto, as caffeine is not that good for you and coffee stains teeth), using the dishwasher (huge waste of water and energy, especially when handwashing is easy as long as you wash dishes the instant you are done using them), doing laundry once a day (once a week seems to be enough for me), going to the ATM 1.5X a week, having a lawn company spray the lawn once a month, driving a minivan, formerly needing to buy ziplock bags every couple of weeks or buying $75 worth of magazines/books each month??

Okay, I don't have kids (and from all of this, I am starting to think I shouldn't have any!) which may be a reason I am a little blown away by all of this, but wow...

Again, please don't take this the wrong way, especially since I think the changes you have been making are great and you have been inspiring me! But maybe your next project can be "A Step-A-Day Program on Simplifying My Life." :) Perhaps some of the following tips from this page could be of use:

Good luck!

Wendy said...

I know I'm a little late in posting my comment, as you wrote this one some time ago, but in my defense, I just found your blog - not sure how, now, but I'm really glad I did.

I've been reading back through your posts, and I'm finding that most of what you suggest, my family has implemented, but I don't, for one second, think that my life is the "norm." What I like about your blog, and why I think it's important that you keep doing what you're doing is that the steps you're taking are so simple, we could all do them, and I guess that's the point, isn't it? You're not like Colin Beaven, who spent a year giving up EVERYTHING, only to go back to his "old" life in the end ... maybe not all the way back, but still, back. What you're doing, by contrast, is making little steps toward changing your habits, and sharing your successes and failures with the billions of suburban Americans who look at Colin Beaven like what he's done will never be accessible (come on, who wants to stomp laundry in the tub or give up toilet paper for a year? - not very many of us), but we can work beside you to make these little changes, and as each one becomes a habit - like using cloth grocery bags rather than plastic - we can feel good about how that one little thing is making a difference - maybe not a huge splash, but ... what's that saying about the little ripples in a pond? You're a little ripple, but in the end, you'll have a huge impact - more than No Impact Man, for sure, because you're just a regular, old, suburban housewife ... like me ... like all of my friends and neighbors, and like most of us.

Keep up the good work! I hope I can get caught up soon :).

Wendy said...

P.S. Have you tried a retractable clothesline? Mine was attached to the side of my house, and when I needed it, I would grab the end and walk to the tree about 30 ft away and put the end on the hook. When I was done, unhook and let it retract itself. Easy-peasy. It installed in about five minutes and there was no digging involved ;).

leslie said...

I'm so glad you have kept going with your blog concept. It is a resource for everyone.