ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Lower Impact Man

January 10th, 2008 by Dave · 3 Comments

I’ve mentioned No Impact Man before. Basically, he did a year-long experiment in which he tried to minimize his environmental impact. In a recent post, he talks about how he is living now that the No Impact experiment is over. This post (like much of his website) could be used to help students become more aware of the impact of their daily lives on global issues. I also like how he captures both the enthusiasm and the desperation that many activists feel.

Here’s most of the post:

Some truths about my life without the gazillion rules to follow:

  • I don’t like making an impact but I like living in the dark less–the lights are on. All our bulbs are CFL. We buy wind power (and you can too). Nothing is plugged in when it isn’t used. The fridge is on but the freezer isn’t. The A/C is never coming back. So far no appliance but the vacuum.
  • I can’t even look at a plastic cup. I still carry my jar everywhere. I don’t even believe in filtered water anymore. I drink water straight from the tap. Municipal water should be clean and free. If rich people don’t insist on this by drinking it, it won’t be.
  • Baking soda cleans my hair and deodorizes my armpits. Olive oil and beeswax moisturize my skin. But I’m a sucker for toothpaste–not really, but I have areas of my teeth that supposedly need fluoride. I’d be perfectly happy brushing with a mixture of Dr Brommers and baking soda.
  • I ride the subway when it rains and once or twice when it was cold, but can’t bring myself to get in a taxi. I love public transportation but I still love my bike more.
  • I’m still the weirdo with the cloth, who won’t use a paper napkin and always asks the waiter to take it back. It’s so trivial but I can’t help myself.
  • I eat at restaurants cause it’s fun and social but all our home shopping is done at the farmers’ market. I can’t bring myself to order takeout wrapped in plastic or paper.
  • I took an airplane to Minneapolis for Christmas. The train was going to cost $2700 and we couldn’t swing it. I offset with Native Energy. I hate that I flew but I’m also not prepared to never see family again. I am prepared to be very sparing, compared with days of old, when it comes to air travel.
  • Hence, I am taking the train from NYC to Indianapolis and back to give a talk next week. Forty-four hours on the train for one hour’s work. But I’m looking forward to it. I have a little compartment. I’ll report.
  • I take short showers with a one gallon per minute shower head.
  • I bought two pairs of new shoes–not from shopping addiction but need–but they are made from hemp and reused tire rubber and union made. They’re called Black Spot from Adbusters.
  • I’m obsessed with turning off lights that aren’t in use in whatever building I go in.
  • I’m a freak.
  • I’m beyond irrelevant.
  • Care to join me?
  • I know the air travel undoes everything.
  • I don’t have the answers.
  • All the same, any questions?

via No Impact Man (duh!)

Tags: blog · climate change · consumerism · global issues activities · reading · the environment

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Khalid // Jan 11, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Brilliant. What an inspiration.

    Got the CFL’s. Not sure how I feel about the water – just because people are rich doesn’t mean they ask the right questions about what they are putting into their bodies (think for example of industrialized food). The Brita does take out the chlorine. I’m getting a PhD in water, I should have a better response than this.

    Gotta work on the napkin and the short-shower thing. Off to go see if PG&E will let me buy wind power. Thanks!


  • 2 Dave // Jan 11, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Right on!

    I sure don’t drink unfiltered water here in China, but I probably would in St. Louis. And I don’t use napkins, but I also don’t have the foresight to carry a cloth, so I end up using my pants. 🙂

    I definitely struggle with the air travel part, though. Having spent the last eight years an ocean away from my family, this is not something I have been able to give up. Thus far, it’s been a trip a year, but I realize that undoes much of the other things I do (or don’t do).

  • 3 shanie // Jan 18, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Never think so much about lower environmental impact.Don’t waste water, use as less as eletricity, bike or walk to work… I thought I did good enough, today I know still have a lot to do.. But one thing, I won’t use my pants, 🙂

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