Tuesday, May 23, 2006

But could we do it?

I don't generally spend a lot of time on politics. I do what I think is best for me, my family, the country, the planet - not necessarily in that order.

So I collect rainwater to use on my indoor plants. I am a vegetarian to decrease the cost to the planet in water, energy, etc. (you can sustain 16 people on a veggie diet to every one meat eater). I walk or ride a bike when I can, and if I have to drive, I'm combining multiple errands to do a big circuit in one trip. I don't drive my kids around to places they can walk, etc.

Even so, I'm using a lot more resources than, say, a European person.

Diana & I found out when our exchange student comes, we shouldn't be surprised if they only bathe 2x a week. And when they do, we can expect to hear the shower turn off & on, as they save water between getting wet, lathering up and rinsing off. Europeans don't worry about BO. It's a natural part of living and people are used to it. Their idea of being clean is different.

In contrast, we are very anti-septic with our hygiene. Even to the point that our own bodies rebel against us by making things that were only mild annoyances become major allergies now. Think of the looks you'd get, especially if you're a woman, if someone at work could actually smell your armpits!

We have a few places where it's okay to smell natural - but only if you are participating in sports, or maybe camping. The rest of the time, it's Offensive with a capital "O." If you're in an office and you reek, you'll probably have someone talk to you about it.

So, could we even conserve water as much as Europeans? Would we be willing to give up our Charmin for toilet paper that is pretty much the same stuff our schools use for paper towels? Do you see the disparity between our Earth Day celebrations and what the rest of the world is doing? How does turning toilet paper rolls into toys make up for our 20-minute showers?

I think it's great that Diana will be able to experience firsthand a different world view. I wish everyone could.


The Lone Beader said...

"you can sustain 16 people on a veggie diet to every one meat eater" Very interesting...I am not a vegetarian, but I do eat a lot of them... I also walk a lot, take the train to work, and when I do have to drive, it is usually only when it is absolutely neccessary. And, I am also proud to say that I only have to put gas in my car once a month:) We only have one Earth.

Joe Williams said...

In my opinion, conservation is kind of defeatist thinking. We can all agree that it's bad to ruin the environment. But the fact is that conservation alone won't solve the world's problems. Our current consumption levels, even cut in half, would still leave the planet in dire straits in a few decades.

Instead, let's take pro-active steps to make things better. There's no lack of water -- the oceans are full of it. It's just clean water where we want it that's missing. If we had a vast, cheap, and healthy source of energy (solar best, nuclear probably pretty close), the water problem goes away -- we can desalinate and transport without making things worse.

If we had a vast, cheap, and healthy source of energy most environmental problems become solvable. You would think we'd be dedicating enormous funds to delivering this energy -- but it's hard to compete with oil, even at current prices.

The Peak Oil alarmists worry that when the crap really hits the fan, we'll no longer have the capacity to find a substitute for oil, and civilization as we know it will collapse.

Let's think ahead.