I've never thought of myself as an environmentalist; I never put much thought into what's going on with the planet, or how I personally am affecting it. Shoot, in my family, environmentalist was almost a dirty word, conjuring images of mud-caked hippies hugging trees under clouds of marijuana.
I have been thinking lately, though, about how incredibly wasteful we human beings are. I'm guilty, and I'll admit it; when I take out the garbage, I always have five or six bags full of uneaten food, plastic bags, paper products, etc. It seems like a lot waste for one person to generate.
While conducting my little experiment last week, I found myself contemplating the areas in which I thoughtlessly waste resources.
One of those was electricity. I leave lights on all the time. In fact, I have one lamp that stays on around-the-clock, until the bulb burns out.
Another thing I waste is food. I have thrown out a bunch of rotten food in my time. It just sits in the fridge, and I'll look at it from time to time, and then go to Sonic. I believe I have some frozen ground beef in my freezer that's been there the entire three years I've lived here. I don't know why I bought it; I must have had good intentions to start cooking more, which I then ignored.
That, of course, leads right into my next area of wastefulness: money. That uneaten food represents money that I've lost. So does the electric bill, from when I leave the lights on all the time, or the water bill, from letting the water run when I'm not using it. Even my satellite bill shows a measure of waste, since I actively watch only about ten channels out of the available three hundred or so.
Once I became aware of how much I was wasting, I decided to try to change my wicked ways. I've started turning off lights when I'm not in the room. I turn off the water when I'm brushing my teeth. I take my lunch to school and eat at home. I even bought reusable water bottles and food containers, so I don't build myself a new pile of plastic bags and soda bottles.
Yesterday I made a resolution: I'm going to start using recyclable market bags. It serves another purpose as well, since I need a new knitting project anyway. And it does help, a little. I've got about seven thousand plastic bags in this house; I do not need any more.
I fully expect that the people at Kroger will look at me strangely, and I'll probably blush and try to disappear, before I remember that I am Making a Statement, or that I am Not Being Wasteful So There.
It's a little thing--miniscule--but it's a start. I want to see where else I can eliminate waste (that sounds like a bathroom discussion, right?) in my current living situation; I'm not going to start wearing, like, hemp shirts or taking a shower only every six days or anything. There IS a limit to how far I would go to save the planet.
I'm not trying to make myself into a saint here. I'm not even sure I'm doing this because of any altruistic motives. I just feel like, here's a teeny tiny something I can do, just in case those crazy tree-huggers are right after all.