I do not know about you, but I am horrified every time I see photos or footage from the oil spill on the Gulf Coast. The images of the oil gushing and the pelicans on the beaches covered in oil literally make me sick to my stomach.
Have any of you read the book or seen the documentary No Impact Man? Both feature Colin Beavan, who with his baby daughter and wife, tried to live completely off the energy grid in New York City for one year.
Colin recently wrote an OpEd for the New York Daily News about the oil spill on the Gulf Coast. If you have not read it, there is a copy on his website which is www.noimpactman.typepad.com.
In his piece Colin encourages people not to only blame the oil companies and the politicians for the disaster, but to also look in the mirror. He mentions how we are all in our homes or offices this summer using air conditioning while most of the energy to runs them comes from coal. We put fuel in our cars and take long road trips. Our closets are bursting with stuff manufactured with the help of fossil fuels.
He explains how the demand of oil keeps growing and the supply keeps dwindling. How the process to get coal out of the ground is so dangerous and burning it pumps tons of toxins and greenhouse gases into the air.
He says we all play a part and suggests some ways that we can help:
- Shop for food from local farmers markets or grow vegetables yourself instead of buying food that has been transported from 1,500 miles away
- Cut flying to meetings by using video conferencing
- Take one two-week vacation instead of two one week vacations
- Use fans instead of air conditioning
- Drink tap water instead of bottled
- Buy second-hand
- Give up beef or buy local meat
Colin promises that people who have made these changes are living less expensive healthier lives.
I really liked that he made some very concrete suggestions for things we all could do. From this list so far we are:
- Growing our own vegetables and shop at a farmers market when we can.
- We only fly to see our family who lives far away and it is only a couple of times a year. Neither one of us flies for work.
- I used all my time off for my maternity leave so we are not even taking a vacation this year.
- We only have air conditioning in Colby and Sawyer’s rooms, not the rest of the house. Me and Jay get to sweat it out at night.
- Unfortunately we can not drink our tap water, because it is well water and the ph is wrong. We have tried to fix it, but have not been able to yet. But we buy the large containers that fit on your fridge shelf rather than the small plastic bottles.
- I need to be better about buying second-hand.
- I do not think we all will ever give up meat, but we buy a half of a pig and a quarter of a cow every year from my brother-in-law who raises them. The meat is fresh, does not have the preservatives you get in the store, and has not had to been transported.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions to add to Colin’s list of things that we can do.