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Deviations from the Mean

18 October 2007

Earlier this week, I came across the Carbon Conscious Consumer site, and, without really thinking about it, signed their Monthly Action Pledge.

It sounds like a great idea. Each month, you pledge to make one small change in your life (because “BIG changes start with small steps,” as their tagline says). You can also win prizes depending on how many people you get to sign up (so totally not my thing, but hey, whatever works to rope in the most people, right?).

Then I took a look at what I was pledging to do, as well as the list of previous monthly pledges, and it seems that I’m not pledging to do anything more than I already do (sort of like me signing a pledge to not eat beef for a month).

I think I have a disconnect with what constitutes normal behavior. I know I always get into trouble when I specifically request input from my readers (you all will comment away happily, until I ask you to, and then the comments dry up, like *that!*). If you were so inclined, could you tell me which of these actions you already do on a regular basis, which you wouldn’t do, and which you might do (but it would be a sacrifice, no doubt about it). I’m not trying to shame anyone, but I’m just curious how far from normal the Consort and I really are.

I’ll go first.
The C3 Challenge Actions:

1. In July we asked you to Eat Locally – Buy one pound of local food a week.

During farmers market season, we buy practically all our produce from the vendors. On a regular week we might bring home: a bunch of broccoli, a bunch of chard, brussels sprouts, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, eggplant, celery, a melon (pee-yew!), some blueberries, cheese, and salad mix.

2. In August we asked you to Downshift your Driving – Carve out one car-free day a week.

The girls walk to school, the Consort bikes to work, I work from home. When we take the car, we try to combine errands into a single trip. We shop for dry goods once a week, rather than pop in at the store every couple of days.

3. In September we asked you to: Junk Your Junk Mail – Use online forms to eliminate most of your unwanted ad mail.

We did this years ago. We don’t sign up for catalogs, and cancel them when some slip through.

4. In October we’ll: Break the Bottled Water Habit – use a non-toxic reusable bottle for water on the go! And a high-quality filter in your home.

We rarely buy bottled water. We each have a Nalgene water bottle that we use for hikes (and the girls use theirs to bring water for lunch at school; they pack a lunch every day, BTW). The Consort doesn’t use disposable cups at the office, and I try to remember to bring a travel mug when I buy a cup of coffee at the library (where I hang out on fencing nights, so I don’t have to make two round trips to drop the girls off and then pick them up again two hours later).

We drink tap water in Des Moines, and I started using a Brita filter this summer when I was not too sure of the quality of the water coming out of the pipes here in NH.

5. In November we’ll: Clean Green – Cold wash your clothes and choose the no-heat dry cycle on your dishwasher.

OK, I do one hot and cold load per week. But I only do laundry once a week, so the loads are always full. The girls do their own laundry, and when they actually get around to doing their wash, the amount of clothes they let pile up has gotten to the full size, as well.

We have always used the no-heat dry on our dishwasher. I usually open the door when the dry cycle starts, and let things air dry. Since July, we’ve done all our dishes by hand. (The girls are hoping we find a used portable dishwasher soon. But they aren’t complaining.)

6. In December we’ll: Bring Your Own Bag – Neither paper nor plastic when you take part in “The New BYOB.”

We bring our own bags to the farmers market. When we aren’t purchasing more than will fit in our arms (book shopping, for example), we’ll say, “No sack, please.” (Yep, I really say “sack.” It’s one midwestern thing I’ve adopted quite happily into my speech.)

We do get at least one paper bag per week and use it to collect our newsprint, etc., for recycling. We use the plastic bags from the grocery store to line our trash cans. We don’t buy special boxes of “trash bags” for that.

There you have it. Anyone else want to share? (And go take the C3 pledge, if you like, too.)

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