Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's your Footprint?!

So back a few months ago I had to give a presentation on Earth Day at work. I found this website . There you can take a quiz to tell you what your carbon footprint is, and what it is compared to an "average American". Well, I was surprised to see that we were over the average! How could this be, we use an energy star appliances, we use the energy efficient lightbulbs, and I tried not to mow my lawn that often (well that was REALLY for other reasons!).
I put thought into the questions on the quiz. It really got me thinking...even though we were trying to do those things; we hadn't thought about sheer consumption! For instance one question related to how often we get new furniture. Had we tossed things that didn't fit a new style, or maybe replaced furniture that could've been refurbished, or re-purposed? How many things did we prematurely get rid of.
And more so, I started thinking about a new couch we got specifically. The old one was dirty and out of shape from kids who were now 5 and 7, but were toddlers when we got it (yes that is right, toddlers, we had the other couch for only 3 yrs). Obviously, we didn't keep this couch, we gave it away, and bought a new and improved couch. Think of the whole entire a landfill. I know we gave it away, and not threw it away. But think about the idea of disposing something like that....and think about how many couches are mass produced....likely more than the necessary need for them by not only Americans, but world wide. I started feeling sick about the idea of "brand new" and "mass consumption".
These ideas not only went over into how I started buying (instead of new, searching Craigslist and Freecycle), but also into Food Consumption. Think about how much food is served at a restaurant. Not only is it expensive to eat out, but the servings are enough to feed a family of 3-4 at some places...and the calories and fat to go with it. We were eating out at least 1 time per week! So with this new cleaner living and not wasting, consuming, husband and I are making a concerted effort to eat out less, and share a meal. We do compensate the poor waiter with less of a bill a decent tip. But why waste the food? Why over consume?
This is just the beginning of the eye opening of this quiz. While we are in Hawaii, we will share one vehicle and a bike. Not only is this money saving, but also fuel saving, and also a healthier lifestyle.
I plan on researching more and more things we can do as a family to USE less Earth, to be good citizens, and to save ourselves from the mass consumption that has gobbled us up for years. Please join me as some of my posts will relate to this and other matters near and dear to my heart!

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