I like to think I'm fairly environmentally minded... I am probably the only one at my office who actually turns off her monitor when she leaves, and I routinely fish aluminum cans out of the garbage can in the kitchen and transfer them to the recycling bin a mere two inches away. At home, I wash my clothes in cold water and hang almost everything to dry. I've replaced most of my light bulbs with compact fluorescents (and I have perfectly logical
Anyway. My point is, I thought I was doing enough small things as to be considered a fairly greenish sort of girl. It's the small things that add up and matter, after all, is it not? Then I took the Earth Day Footprint Quiz (which Sognatrice linked to in her Blog Action Day post today). And OH MY WORD. Suddenly I'm looking at people in Hummers drinking out of Styrofoam cups and saying, "Oh hello, Kettle. I'm Pot. You sure do look black."
People, I don't even want to tell you how I scored on that quiz. I am far, far, far too ashamed. I did so poorly that, if our results were cataloged in some national database for our nation's leaders to peruse, I would probably be invited to the next $1,000 per plate dinner put on by George W. and his crew. If those results are right, then if everyone lived like me, we'd need 72 planets to sustain us. OK, so I am exaggerating. It wasn't anywhere near 72. But it was a far cry from the 1.2 Sognatrice scored, so it jarred me anyway.
I'd actually like to take issue with the Footprint Quiz, as I think there are plenty of things it doesn't measure that could marginally balance out the things it does. The things that hurt my results most severely are significant, sure, but they'd also involve major lifestyle changes to remedy: (1. I drive too damn far to work, and there is no feasible public transport to take instead, and (2. I'm a lazy, convenience foods sort of girl who doesn't pay near enough attention to how far her food traveled or how many resources were used in packaging it. The latter I can work on (baby steps, baby steps). The former is tougher to remedy.
In truth, though, there are a whole lot more things I could be doing. I could renew my recently expired TerraPass, for starters. That would assuage at least a bit of my driving guilt. I could remember to bring my Chico Bags every time I go shopping, instead of just one in three. I could turn off my kitchen light when I'm not in there. (And how often am I in there, really? You all know how infrequently I cook!) I could refuse to buy any more Lean Cuisines or Healthy Choice lunches until they package them in burnable paper (like Amy's Organic and Cedarlane) instead of non-recyclable plastic. (Yes, burning is a problem as well, but in Minneapolis, burned garbage is converted into energy, so supposedly none of it goes in a landfill, making it at least a partially justified trade-off, anyway.) I could do some of the things mentioned in the posts and comments at Bleeding Espresso and Marmite Breath today.
Or, I could do some of the things all of YOU suggest. Tell me, what are YOU doing to make sure we're not living in a horrific wasteland by 2016? We'll get back to my normally scheduled frivolity soon enough, really, but for now, I'm curious about everyone's thoughts on this.