In 1994 I was in a grocery store in Seattle and deciding which garbage bags to buy. As I reached for the cheapest ones, a lady sniped at me, “You really should buy the biodegradable ones, it’s better for the environment!” I saw her later getting into an SUV in the parking lot as I rolled away on my bike.
I’m no environmentalist, I’m not a vegan. I personally believe that my small footprint doesn’t mean jack. However, I do care about the world and I know I’m contributing to the landfill called earth. So, I do think about what I can do to make less of an impact. I personally don’t believe all the hype about organic vegetables, biodegradable materials is just that, hype. I took marketing in college and I know that marketers twist stuff to appeal to our base instincts and that if you look at labels and do your research, a lot of the “all-natural” stuff on the shelves is anything but.
So I have my own way of chipping away at the carbon I spew.
- Ride my bike whenever possible. To this end I’ve gotten a trailer so I have fewer reasons to cop out on a bike ride. I also have lots of warm clothes to narrow down even more excuses for not riding. I get groceries,
move big stuff, go see friends, take the cats to the vet, get ice cream and other stupid stuff, all on my bike. As much as possible.
- Rarely eat beef. Because there are now billions of Indians and Chinese people finally able to afford hamburgers, they’re getting them. The whole cattle industry, farting cows and all is having a horrible effect on the environment. Turns out there is huge oil consumption for the fertilizer to grow feed, get feed to cows, transport cows to slaughter, transport their delicious body parts to all the places they go in the supply chain. If you must eat meat, chickens are also delicious.
- When I drive I drive a little bitty car. Little bitty cars are great! They fit everywhere. I always have parking, no matter how big the crowd because most people drive bigger cars than me and there is always a sliver for me to park in. Little bitty cars also get great gas mileage. I get to giggle to myself when I watch that guy putting $60 in his tank while my little guy only needs $25 if the tank is bone dry.
- Buy local: If I have a choice between a big box store and Mom and Pop, I’m going with Mom and Pop. Not only are you choosing to circulate your hard earned dollars in your own community, but a lot of times Mom and Pop also want to support local guys, so they buy local too. Certainly not all the time, but definitely more often than Walmart. If everybody buys local, there is less long-haul moving stuff around, and this has a huge impact on the environment. The best part about buying local is bragging about it with Mom and Pop. They will be very proud of you.