Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trading in my dryer sheets in 2010

Yesterday a colleague irked me a bit. We were picking our way through a snowy sidewalk, after departing a commuter train between Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland. I was trying to convince him to join a carpool with me in 2010. After four years of 90 minute commutes (in one direction) and to celebrate my new home, I am trying to find a way to drive to work that is environmentally friendly. From my time in a simplicity group and by rubbing shoulders with the green crowd in the Fair Trade movement, I am acutely aware that car driving is a particularly bad habit to get into.

Alas, I am not such a good recruiter, and it looks like come January I will be a lone driver. I told my colleague that I plan to stop drying my clothes as one big move to offset my carbon emissions. The popular home appliance actually turns out to be quite an energy sucker. My colleague laughed out loud. Not a belly laugh but a punchy "HA!," followed up with a comment something along the lines of "trying to rationalize your way onto the beltway, eh?"

It seemed like a mini version of the what might have been the tensions behind two weeks of the Copenhagen struggles. Two people agree that driving 70 miles round trip is a bad thing (or 193 countries agreed that climate change is a reality). But how to confront it was open to much debate (reduce output, switch technologies) and a bit of finger pointing (your country goes first with goals and commitments!). By the time we reached our office lobby a shrugged resignation: you do your thing, I do mine. (See you in Spain this summer!)

My in-box is filled with "Last Minute Fair Trade Shopping" advertisements, and I know that some of you are still scurrying around trying to find fair, green, and simple gifts. Occasionally you are going to yield to time pressure and pop into a department store. Or you are going to let your hand go toward an irresistible bargain on the shelf from uncertain locations during tight times. I join you in these less-than-perfect compromises. I feel like I am in good company and I look forward to more learning and decision making in the new year.

(The photo above is of my sister, mom, and me last Christmas.)

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