I never really set out to be environmentally conscious–not that I don’t like the idea, of course, just that other priorities . . . well, took priority.
(In fact, I griped in a previous post about the intersection of environmentalism and feminism.)
But I was reflecting on our household this morning, and realized that if you aggregated all of the data, I would imagine that our family’s environmental impact is probably in the very lowest strata (for Americans, anyway, but that’s another post) of energy and resource use.
We have two cars, yes, but my husband works from home and I try to spend as little time in the car as possible. (Not for environmental reasons, but mostly because I think the other half of that lovely little Mormon phrase about home being a heaven on earth should be about car trips with kids giving you a preview of . . . a different kingdom.) So we average less than three tanks of gas per month between the two of us.
I bought a bunch of those re-usable grocery bags. Not to save the planet, but to save my children from the spray of profanity that accompanies the spray of pickle juice when those wafer-thin plastic bags break over the wood floor. (The plastic bags that do make it into this house are re-used as trash bags.)
We don’t buy many processed foods. (I’m too cheap. And lots of sodium makes me feel oogy.)
We don’t eat a lot of meat. (Although there’s usually a little in each meal. That’s just a personal preference thing.)
We’ve filmed our windows and are replacing the roof in a color so light that we had to plead with the HOA to permit it . . . not to save the whales, but because we’ve already had over a month of +/-100 degree days this year. (If I knew what the emoticon for “ugh” was, I’d use it here. That, or despair.)
We buy lots of things used (books, a washing machine, homeschooling materials, a rug for the living room, yet another bookcase) because I’m cheap and craigslist is fun.
And while I was tinkering around online, exploring the wonders of deregulated energy, I discovered that we could have 100% renewable energy for a whopping extra 10$/month. So that was the one environmentally correct decision that I made at personal expense but, good grief, it’s only 10 dollars. It felt churlish to go with coal when given that option.
So here’s the punchline: I’m guessing we use fewer resources than 80-90% of Americans, despite our larger-than-average house, family, and financial resources. And it isn’t because of an ideological commitment. So what does this imply for efforts to protect our natural resources?