Friday, June 10, 2005

steps towards synergy

Would you like to raise your consciousness about how lightly you live on the Earth? Then I invite you to invest less than 30 minutes on an interesting self-test by The Institute for Earth Education.

The Living More Lightly Profile
Completing this profile on-line will take 30 minutes or less. Remember, this is not a test. You are not being judged. The score you receive is your own. This is simply a tool for you to use in determining what lifestyle changes are most important to you.

My score was about 276. It helped me pinpoint where I have room for improvement. And I got to say "usually" when asked if I turned of lights and electronics when nobody was in the room. That's a new leaf I have turned over since starting this blog. I hate the darkness and with all the rain we are getting I like to turn on every light in the house. But I wasn't thinking about the environmental cost of using all that electricity. So now I turn them on and off as I go.

A couple of years ago our dryer broke and we hung our clothes up over the summer. Other than a mishap with a fire ant hill, I actually enjoyed doing the laundry and bringing in the sunny-smelling clothing. I'm thinking about reinstating this practice. If you do use a dryer, here are some tips to maximize its efficiency.

I've been reading up on voluntary simplicity. Clay and Judy Woods have a page about their choices and they explained an interesting concept called the "simple triangle:"

Several years ago an article in In Context magazine pointed out that in most cases, something that saves you money (specific choices or philosophies) will also be environmentally positive and good for your health. Something that is good for your health will probably be good for the environment and will save you money. Something that you do for the good of the environment will also (you guessed it) save you money and promote good health. They had a neat little triangle, not unlike the recycling triangle with health, money, and environment as the sides.

Think about it. You stop using pesticides in your home and garden to keep from poisoning yourself (health). You save the money you would have spent on the chemicals. Your immediate environment is allowed to function without noxious chemicals in your indoor and outdoor landscape. Or you decide to eat less meat. Good for your health, eating lower on the food chain uses less resources including land, water, grain, energy for processing, etc. (environment) and it costs you less to
eat veggies and fruit and grains than to eat meat (money). Try some other stuff - usually it works.
This is similar to the new idea that environmental concerns are not diametrically opposed to economic concerns. In fact there are new models and case studies that show how increasing environmental sustainability facilitates economic sustainability. The book Natural Capitalism has popped up in a lot of my recent searches. One review explains:
Many real-life examples illustrate how huge resource savings can be made at low cost, while often improving overall productivity. You start to wonder why it is not already being done, and what we can do to speed things up. Somehow we need to break down the negative image of the environment as a burden, and encourage a more collaborative and innovative culture. Hawken et al. point out the potential for harnessing the very market forces which have led to so much environmental destruction, to help us in this task.
I'm hoping that this kind of positive synergy will help us overcome the obstacles facing us today.

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