I am sort of interested in environmentalism. Meaning, I care about the environment, but I’m not very good at making that concern a top priority in the midst of all the other things I care about. To a true environmentalist, I probably look totally uncaring and unconcerned.
At the same time, some of my relatives are convinced I’m a bona fide tree hugger because I will hardly ever use a paper towel. (My dad used to buy a roll eveytime he came to my house, because he couldn’t survive without them. Then someone else gave me two 12 packs of paper towels. At least they were the rolls with each towel being half size. I kept one of the packs because I figure they won’t go bad in the 12 years of visits from my dad it will take me to use them 🙂 and exchanged the other for a more necessary paper product to have on hand for a family of five. )
The areas I am environmentally conscientious don’t seem like anything profound, more like I’m slowing down my impact on the environment just the teeniest bit. I enjoy hanging out some of my laundry. I still use my dryer, but when I hang clothes on the line, I always feel a little thrill. Because there is all that sunshine, doing its thing, and I’m making some of it work for ME. And it isn’t costing anything, and no energy is being wasted, because, well, the sun and heat and wind are already doing their thing, and I’m just tapping into it.
When I was looking at houses a couple of years ago, the realtor said he had never seen anyone so concerned about ventilation. But, if you live in a warm place, ventilation can make a huge difference. Older homes in Florida, built before the advent of air conditioning, were designed to make the environment work for them–excellent cross ventilation and sometimes a peak in the middle with vents for the air to escape out of. When the heat rises, and then goes out the vent, the resulting movement can make a house feel a few degrees cooler. Now that is REALLY cool! The house I am currently living in was built in 1920. The layout and resultant cross ventilation is great. It has an upstairs which gets really toasty in summer, but the downstairs temperature can get to 82 and only feel like 78 in someone else’s home. And, it also takes longer to get to 82 in our home than in some of my friend’s homes with different orientation and lower ceilings.
Part of what keeps me from being more green is laziness. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. It’s just way easier, for example, to buy food from the grocery store instead of growing it in a garden (and I manage to kill just about everything I grow anyway).
But, another thing that keeps some of my green tendencies in check is, well, a shortage of the other type of green, the money kind. If I had more of that kind of green, here are green things I’d love to do or have:
Solar cell phone charger (this one is really rather inexpensive)
Push reel mower (probably the most surprising thing on my Amazon wish list) and European scythe (my son, who mows our lawn with a gas mower we got from the trash, is glad we’re not that rich.) European scythes are very different from American ones, and from what they say, are very easy to use.
I’d buy HEAT YOUR HOME FOR FREE E-BOOK and pay somebody to help me understand and implement some of the ideas.
And if I had even more money, I’d buy THE SOLAR HOUSE: PASSIVE HEATING AND COOLING and build (well, have someone else build) a house that makes the Florida environment work for me.
I’d drive a Prius. Codepoke’s story of his experience driving one in California, made me think this would be my dream car.
An exercise bike that generates electricity (I’m not very good at talking about energy in correct terms. Perhaps such a bike is capturing energy rather than generating it?).
A solar oven that really works. (I’ve tried to build one with my kids, but obviously my design and building skills aren’t too great, since the problem is definitely not the lack of sun here; actually, now that I think of it, I was trying it in the autumn. I should try again in the summer)
Obviously, I’m not a sold out environmentalist. But some of these things just make sense. If the sun is shining, why not make it work for me? If you’re pushing the lawnmower anyway and exerting that energy, why burn gasoline, too?
Mainly, I love reading, learning and dreaming about stuff like this. So, perhaps it’s more a personal entertainment thing for me rather than noble conscientiousness. Here are two of the more entertaining articles I’ve read on the topic lately: