Today is a day for some practical living details on our No Impact lifestyle, answering questions that have come in comments and private emails, and mentioning a couple of news stories that are kind of alarming.
Too hot for comfort—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Friday that the 2006/2007 winter has been the warmest since recordkeeping began in 1880. As a result, the world’s biological clock is out of kilter. Winter wheat came a month early in the Netherland and experts worry there may be a greater than usual risk of grain diseases. In Italy, green beans, artichokes, peas and asparagus are already so plentiful that merchants can’t sell them. The list of weirdness goes on. Meanwhile, ten of the last eleven years have been the hottest on record. But according to Reuters, Jay Lawrimore of NOAA said of our virtually missing winter, “We don’t say this winter is evidence of the influence of greenhouse gasses.” Well, maybe you don’t say it, Jay…
Bush: Just say no…to global warming initiatives—According to the BBC, the United States, in a meeting of ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialized nations, put the kibosh on multinational initiatives to curb global warming by paying developing nations to preserve their rainforests and to extend to them the global system of carbon trading. Could it be that the oil companies and other big business, who give heavily to both our political parties, might be influencing U.S. policy in places that are out of view of American voters?
Hoisted by my own petard—Because of the No Impact injunction against buying tree-consuming newspapers and magazines, I couldn’t buy a copy of the New York Times yesterday (Sunday), even though it contained an OpEd on the No Impact project by yours truly. So, Michelle and I went through our building’s recycling pile and finally found a couple of copies. If you don’t feel like crawling through the trash, content yourself with reading it on the web.
The knife at my throat—According to Grist, 2 billion disposable razors end up in U.S. dumps every year. Furthermore, the disposable razor blade, invented by King Camp Gillette, helped usher in our disposable culture back in the early 1900s. That’s why I’ve been using a straightedge razor since Christmas. I use hand soap to make a lather—no disposable shaving foam cans—and use my hands to apply it since most shaving brushes are made from beaver fur. If you want to know how to shave with the long blade, go here. It took a while, but the emergency room nurses no longer know me on a first name basis and I get as close a shave as I used to.
What do you use to clean up when your dog does her business (question by email from Helen Coxe)?—I go to the trash can on the corner and take something out that is already destined for the dump. I try not to use pages from one of our few remaining magazines, because they would normally be going to the recycling bin, which they can’t once Frankie has had her way with them.
Did you consider switching to a veggie diet to reduce your impact (question by email from Jodie)?—I was already veggie, Jodie. Michelle has joined me. Nothing that wiggles or has a face. That's a No Impact rule. To quote you: “There are many reasons why a vegetarian diet has a smaller environmental impact than a diet that includes meat. For example, for every ten calories of grain that is fed to an animal, one calorie of meat is produced. It makes more sense to just eat the grains directly. Massive amounts of water and land are used to grow that grain and to support the animals. If people just ate the grains instead, less land and less water would be used in the long run. Not to mention the farmed animals produce waste and excrement that end up polluting water and topsoil.” And also, if you remember the recent scare, it pollutes our spinach too.