Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Not so No Impact

I’ve realised something: unless I feel slightly deprived, or aware of what I’m doing, I feel as if I’m not doing enough to live a “no impact” lifestyle. And, something else, there are a few ways, ok lots of ways, I’m not changing my high-impact ways. I still work at a laptop all day (laptops use less power than desktops though, I think), I still watch a bit of tv at night (if there's something worth watching, like Black Books), I still use products that come in plastic bottles (even though they can be "recycled" but are actually just "downcycled" into different plastics which eventually break down into ever-smaller pieces that might even end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch).

And here’s a big one: I’m flying to Melbourne on Friday, which will create 0.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide. I have already offset my flight ($9.42 with Climate Friendly) and booked the Skybus, which offsets its emissions with Greenfleet to take me from the airport to the Melbourne city centre. I even considered taking the train, even one way – which, incidentally, costs about the same as flying but takes 11 hours instead of 1.5 hours, and made me realise that I’m less committed to being No Impact than I’d thought I was – if I was really committed, I reasoned, I’d find a way to not fly. But I guess part of this whole project is being aware of where we can make changes and where we can’t. At least not right now. It’s a process, right? 

Another way I’m being “not really No Impact” is that I’ve been using the car the last few days: to drive to the mechanic (for a pink slip inspection because my registration is due this month), to Palm Beach on Sunday (a pleasure drive of 30km each way, though we resisted buying non-organic bread and take-away coffee, and when we did stop for ice-cream we made sure it came in a cone, not a wrapper with a wooden stick inside it).

And, just this morning, we drove to the beach for a surf. I forgot to say this early on but I decided before the start of the project that I’d allow myself to drive the 3km return to my local surf beach because it’s too far to walk with a surfboard, wetsuits, etc. Then, happily, I broke a toe on my left foot, which meant no surfing for a few weeks, which fitted in with the No Impact plan, even though not-surfing isn't part of my normal life. So today I started surfing again, and drove there and back. I offset my car’s annual emissions with Greenfleet, don't drive much, don't commute (because I work from home) but still, the guilt wanders in, uninvited. Can I make it welcome?

"This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor..."
- from The Guest House by Rumi

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