Monday, December 31, 2007

Peace, Love, and Harmony To All

Peace Love Harmony To All, originally uploaded by gooseflesh.

I have zillions of New Year's resolutions. My favorites are the ones I made for my husband. He got two computer-generated lists to pin to the wall.

I have resolutions for my kids, too. They will Finish What They Start, Pick Up What They Put Down, and Clean Up After Themselves (mostly that last one).

For myself? There are the usuals: lose more weight, exercise more, walk the dogs daily (a bit difficult on our never-plowed, icy-when-it's-not-muddy dirt road), make lots of money, transform my rat-hole of a house into a showplace (or at least make it comfortable, clean, and well-lit), and donate about a metric ton of our possessions to Goodwill.

More serious, if not necessarily more obtainable, I'd like to reduce my family's carbon footprint. The best resource I've found is The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices, which recommends what actions we can take to most effectively reduce our impact on the planet. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (who wrote the book), the most important action I can take, eclipsing all others, is to drive less.

Unfortunately we have chosen a lifestyle that centers around driving: we live in the country and commute to work and school. Short of selling the house and moving to a small home in the city, we are stuck with an enormous oily footprint.

So most of my efforts are largely symbolic: eliminating petroleum products wherever else I can. I had no idea, for instance, that laundry and dish detergents are typically petroleum-based. The mountain of petroleum-derived plastic recyclables that we haul away from our house each month (in the car, of course) doesn't make me feel any better. (Why is it so difficult to find refills for those thick, heavy containers, seemingly designed for permanence rather than waste reduction?)

Meanwhile, if saving the planet (surely a worthy goal) takes up most of my efforts, I am perhaps not focusing where I might make the biggest impact: on my children. I want them to be the most thoughtful, compassionate, responsible, and useful people they can be. What concrete actions I can take towards this goal will be my real resolution. I'm not sure what actions these will be, but this year I will try to find out and do what I can.

Rats and mice. I was just going to eat fewer cookies. . . .


futuregirl said...

I wish you all the best for the coming year ... and I'll gladly take those extra cookies! :)

Anonymous said...

A small step but one I have been taking is to keep my recyclable shopping bags in the car. My favorite store gives 5 cents off for each bag you bring in for carrying your groceries. Gotta do what we can!