Monday, July 23, 2007

energy, diet, carbon footprint, ranting, oh my!

I just took the Minnesota Energy Challenge, and am feeling a little bit frustrated. It allows you to calculate your carbon footprint based on a limiting number of checkboxes, which assumes you own both a car and an air conditioner. Also, nowhere in the challenge did it mention eating vegetarian meals as a way to reduce your carbon footprint! This frustrates me.

Vicki over at Vegan Vice just posted about this same topic. Why, when most people consider what they can do to help the environment, do they think compact fluorescent lightbulbs and driving less, and refuse to consider their food choices? Not that choosing compact fluorescent lightbulbs and driving less don't help . . . it's just that folks ignore the single most important thing they can do -- eat a vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) diet!

And really, in the end, it's not that hard. My blog, and countless others, are proof that you can eat healthy and well enjoying mostly plants!

I could keep ranting about this, but my thoughts are a little disorganized right now. Instead, I encourage everyone to go and calculate their own ecological footprints using a device that allows you to include your dietary decisions in determining your carbon footprint.

Here's the thing:

I recycle, buy as many locally produced foods and products as I'm able, live in a small apartment with energy efficient lightbulbs and the works, purchase products that are manufactured in a sustainable way, create a minimum amount of waste, eat a vegetarian diet, buy local as much as I can, ride my bicycle and use public transportation, and many other things.

Still, according to the results of my ecological footprint quiz, if everyone lived like me, we would need almost two earths to accomodate everyone!

Sometimes, I want to throw in the towel.

Instead, I'm going to go check out a new website I just discovered. They have a function that allows you to minimize the amount of junk mail you receive! Off to learn more.

P.S. I want to read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver. (I also want to read the new Harry Potter, but that's unrelated . . . I can't wait until my property tax return shows up! Money for books and a few other things I've been waiting for!!)


Anonymous said...

I just finished reading "Animal Vegetable Miracle"! I meant to tell you about it when we met last week--it is interesting. Certainly worth reading. I borrowed it from a co-worker or else I would lend it to you...

I DO, however, have a copy of Harry Potter you can borrow in a few days when I am done!


Anonymous said...

Last year I removed myself from many junk mail company's lists. It took a lot of time to follow each company's procedures properly. At first I was skeptical that it would reduce the junk but you know, it actually has. I get very little junk mail now. I love it.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

I share your frustration, Catherine. A veggie diet needs to be included on every "How to Stop Global Warming" list. It is a glaring problem. Thanks for the links & I'm gunna check that book too. Gotta say that your sushi is so pretty!! :)

Freedom said...

On the positive side, even though the calculator still says we would need two earths if everyone lived like you, I believe that if everyone lived like the 'average' westener, we would need over 4 earths!

Carrie™ said...

Just remember, every little bit helps. Have you ever heard of David Suzuki? He's a Canadian enviromentalist that has a very successful TV show called The Nature Of Things. Anyhow, he's been very outspoken on global warming and got called out on eating meat & diet's effect on the issue. He took the challenge, stepped up to the plate and is now eating a vegan diet! If only Al Gore would do the same. He's much more visible and it would do so much. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I share your frustration! but i have hopes.

sending you good wishes that your property tax return shows up quick!!

bazu said...

I totally understand your rant. I know I don't live a perfectly green life, but I really really try. I don't have AC. I don't commute with a car. I don't use paper towels. I don't get plastic bags. I don't buy water in plastic bottles. I recycle like a maniac. I buy local and organic and non-processed and non-packaged food when I can. In the winter, I set the thermostat to 66, 67 at the highest. I don't spray my lawn. I don't have a gas powered lawn mower. And, oh yeah, I'm a vegan. Think how much it says our footprints are. And then think how many people don't even come close to caring that much. It's enough to make you scream in frustration!

Crystal said...

Catherine - you do such a great job and are very aware of your footprint...even if a website doesn't realize it.

I just got Animal, Vegetable, Miracle from Amazon last month. I kinda have a book buying addiction, so there are about 10 books before it for me to read, but I'm eager to see what happens!


KleoPatra said...

Catherine, what a thoughtful, thought-provoking post. Don't you dare throw in that proverbial towel. You are doing a great service to the earth just by doing what you do every day. A little bit makes a big difference if all of us do a little bit. So you do yours and i'll do mine and i'll bet we're being joined by myriad others. YOU do make a difference, and i'm proud of you for it!