Yesterday was the last day of No Impact Week, a sort of Sunday Sabbath, where I was supposed to “remove” myself from modern life in order to reflect on what I’ve learned this week. Or something.
As I sat in the NYC-DC bus, sipped my kombucha tea, and thought about this week, I was disappointed. Because it seemed like all I learned was this: reducing your impact is as hard as reducing your weight. As much as the idea of living lightly on the earth appeals to me (like the idea of being 110 svelte pounds and rocking shiny leather leggings like it’s my job) it’s extremely hard to do! (Look a paradox right there. Leather leggings?)
At the beginning of every day, I would think of all the things I could do to reduce a particular part of my footprint. Less trash, less water use, less electricity use, less taxi use. But in the end, I enjoy indulging in my computer and hair dryer as much as I enjoy indulging in waffle fries from Chik-Fil-A. And much the same way I am easily swayed by others urging me to try all the hor d’oeuvres, I am easily swayed by friends to take a taxi up town, then back downtown, then a mile a way to avoid sloshing through the rain. And living without a long hot shower after a jog through the chill morning fog is about as probable as my going on a diet of cranberry juice and lettuce.
Why do I even try though? Why do I deny myself the use of the elevator when 95% of the population won’t even bother to climb ten steps instead of taking an escalator?
It’s because I still believe in it. I believe that taking the stairs is not only good for the environment, its good for my health, and my happiness. I believe that maybe I can convince one friend to take the subway with me instead of hailing a cab, and then they will convince another friend, and then maybe taking a cab will become gauche. Who knows? After all, the consumption of water bottles has been dropping. And maybe, if our leaders see that the average person cares about recycling in New York City, they will realize we care about global warming. I just can’t stop believing, because if I do, what will I believe in?
Besides, this week wasn’t a total wash. I ate way less meat, I toned my butt on eight flights of steps, and I managed to drag Vicki to a 350 day event on Saturday at St. John the Divine, and show her what the science was all about.
It will happen. Something will happen.