Wednesday, August 15, 2007

low-hanging fruit

So I got this cool book from the library called "The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices". It's written by a bunch of scientists that analyzed current research to find which actions ordinary people can take to make the biggest difference on the environment. Rather than spin our wheels composting with worms (on second thought, I decided not to go for it), they point out that driving less and using efficient heating/cooling will make the most difference individually. It also talks about policies we can all press our elected officials for.
The good news is that the book was really well researched and had very practical advice. Don't use your fireplace too much, they counseled. Watch the toxic chemicals (paints, cleaners) that you use around your house. Consider informed purchases (house, car, energy efficient appliances) that will make a big environmental impact. Buy organic produce. Eat less meat. Don't eat beef much, if you do eat meat.
The low-hanging fruit of these ideas Dyami and I already pretty much do. I love a good steak as much as the next girl, but I'm trying to cut back. Organic produce? Check.
The bad news is that the stuff that probably makes the most impact (driving the car) is hardest. Let's not point out the fact that we live in suburban hell and public transportation seems woefully cumbersome. Let's focus, instead, on the fact that I've been using the car quite a lot (gulp) to get Lucy to sleep at various times.
According to their research, that not-so-green habit probably has a lot more impact than the whole cloth diapering/recycling do-gooderness that I've been so proud of.
The problem is that the car use is so hard to change around here. I think I need to research if it would really be possible to use public transportation in our neighborhood. Would it be ridiculous? For example, it would be great to take the train to school come fall, if the train actually ran late enough. It doesn't.
Does anyone else use our bus system ever???? Anyone? I've taken the bus once, I think. From La Jolla to downtown. It wasn't a great experience. It's just so slooooooow.
So for now, I'll stick to my low-hanging fruit. Mmmmm. Low-hanging fruit.


Diana said...

My husband used to use the bus all the time and we often talk about ways we can use public transportation, but in the end we find it's often practically impossible (especially with 2 little ones and their accoutrements in tow). We even have trouble when we walk places, suddenly discovering that the sidewalk justs ends or there are no paths from the sidewalk into a shopping center. While climbing through bushes or running along the edge of the street, we cluck disapprovingly at those pesky city planners who seem hell-bent on turning us against walking all-together. At least you (and we) are trying, but nobody's perfect (okay, maybe Al Gore?). L's sleep is important too, as is your sanity.

Anonymous said...

Go to the NCRT website and look at the FAST system. I don't know if it is better than driving or not, but the bus picks you up at your house and takes you anywhere in the "zone" that you want to go. It is the same price as a bus ticket.