Today I would like to go back in time to Blog Action Day and make two more environmental points. Because who DOESN'T enjoy a second helping of environmental preaching? Get yer butts back in the pews.
I suppose this is the whole idea of B.A.D. (which, incidentally, shouldn't be acronymed): it gets you thinking about environmental stuff even after the day is over. That insight is GENIUS, Capt. Swistle Obvious!
Anyway. Two things.
Thing the first: The fact that reusable items need to be washed between uses is not a reason to use disposable items instead. I keep hearing people say that cloth diapers are not really an environmentally-friendly option because they require the use of water and detergent and so forth. Well, okay: I admit those issues need to be taken into account, and that people who use cloth diapers shouldn't prance around talking about how THEIR actions have NO environmental impact, unlike OTHER people who use DISPOSABLES. But on the other hand, the plastic boxes I use for my kids' school sandwiches have to be washed, too. Does that mean I might as well use plastic baggies instead? My clothes need to be washed. Does that mean I might as well wear disposable clothing and throw it out at the end of each day? My dishes need to be washed. Does that mean it would be better for the environment to use paper plates and plastic utensils and throw them out after each meal? Answer = no. Reusable items require maintenance, and of course they also need to be manufactured at some environmental cost, and eventually they will be in landfills--but the balance still tips in their favor.
Thing the second: Doing one bad thing for the environment does not "cancel out" doing one good thing. If we use solar energy to heat our bath water, and then stand in the shower reading a book as water runs down the drain, it's tempting to see that as a ridiculous combination of activities. People also mock the combination of a double cheeseburger and a diet soda. Neither combination is in fact ridiculous. Leaving aside the issue of whether someone might prefer diet soda, or whether calories are a good measure of a food's worth--do we think that if you eat a lot of calories, it ONLY makes sense to eat A LOT MORE? Do we think that if you waste water, it ONLY makes sense to also waste water that came from a more environmentally-harmful source? If I keep accidentally leaving lights on, does that mean I should use incandescents instead of fluorescents? If I do a lot of driving, does that mean I should avoid a hybrid? Answer = no. Mathematically speaking, environmentally bad plus environmentally good is greater than environmentally bad plus environmentally bad.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...