Monday, August 24, 2015

Personal Carbon Reduction: Less Frantic Equals More Green

It happened today - all hell broke loose Lubbock schools are back in session. As I made my way to work, I noticed the angry and fearful looks in lots of eyes. I saw people rushing to get to the next light to slam on the brakes. I saw traffic backed up on the loop due to some bumper bumping. Our town was a big nasty ball of stress this morning.

And it's about time. (Really, it has to do with time.)

Before we jump into the details of personal carbon reduction, let's talk about time. Most of us, myself included, complain that there's not enough time in the day, and that time controls us. Maybe it's time to do something about that.

Let me lay out two possible mornings for me:

I watched one too many shows on Netflix last night. The alarm catches me off guard, so I snooze it for ten twenty thirty more minutes. I jump up, run around franticly, shave, shower, find clothes, shoes, belt, glasses, feed the dogs, apologize to the dogs for skipping the morning scratch, run out the door to the truck, run back in remembering some of what I forgot. I look longingly at the helmets (bike and scooter). Run back out, jump in the truck, look at the gas gauge, curse, and speed off to start my day late with all the other people who started like I did. PS. I left my lunch in the fridge, so it'll be some version of fast food and driving around at lunch today.

I wake up ten minutes before the alarm. (I shut the TV off by 9:30 last night and got some stuff ready before going to bed.) I get up before the alarm (which allows my wife to get a little more sleep.) Shave/shower/dress - I laid out my clothes last night, so dressing goes quickly. I fed the dogs last night, so I just top off their bowls. I spend a few minutes scratching Mattie and Kylie. Their joy is infectious. I smile and laugh while scratching them. I packed the backpack last night and set the helmet, lock, and glasses with the backpack. I grab my leftovers from the freezer. I head off on the bike knowing that I am early enough to get a good table at the coffeehouse and not wait in line, and knowing that I will arrive at work with a feeling of accomplishment rather than relief at having made it through the rat race.

Does any of it sound familiar? The more time you have create for yourself, the easier it is to make greener choices and healthier/less stressful choices. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes.

Low hanging fruit to create more time:
  • Turn off the TV - or turn it off sooner. Set a limit before you sit down.
  • Same thing with the phone/computer game
  • Same thing with Face-A-Gram-A-Twit
  • Go to bed twenty minutes earlier and get up ten minutes earlier
  • Set aside a little time dedicated to housekeeping
  • Set aside a little time dedicated to thought, meditation, prayer, whatever floats your brain
  • Examine the day - figure out what made it more or less stressful and adjust as needed
What does all of that have to do with personal carbon reduction? When you are less stressed and have more time, you are likely to make better choices. Simply taking your lunch to work in a reusable container versus idling in the drive thru line to buy a Chick-Fil-A meal wrapped in paper, plastic, cardboard, and styrofoam makes a massive difference in your personal carbon consumption. Add a little exercise, a little more (or better) sleep, and more satisfaction for a day well-spent - you are quite likely to start your own green revolution and drag others along with you. Have you ever seen a social circle, workplace, or family where one person makes better choices and the others follow along? It's amazing to watch, and it's even better to be a part of it. So, snagit, get it started!

May tiny steps lead to massive change.