Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Monday, April 02, 2007

FHE My Way

Tonight I forced Mike to have FHE with me. We went to a Thai restaurant, and looked through the latest Time Magazine, which featured an article on 51 things we can do to reduce global warming. I thought Mike would be resistant (he didn't sound at all excited when I first proposed this) but he was actually quite agreeable when we talked about things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint.
We decided to:
a) switch out our regular bulbs with compact fleurescents
b) wrap a blanket around our water heater
c) buy a screen door for our front door so that we won't have to use our AC very much
d) get some new weather stripping for our door
e) wash all our clothes in warm and cold water (no hot) and try to hang dry more of our clothes
f) look into purchasing green power or get solar panels
g) landscape with more CA native plants
h) only do loads of laundry and dishes when they are totally full
i) buy more produce from our farmers market
i) look into getting rid of my gas guzzling VW and buy a PRIUS!



Anonymous N. Ryan said...

I admire your desire for change, but you have to do it with a few things in mind.

Right now, although regular light bulbs use more energy, the additional energy and cost needed to manufacture (and market) compact fluorescent bulbs does not actually make them green freindly - yet. The same is true about hybrid cars. If you dont drive much, switching cars will not lower your carbon footprint. (you have to factor in the eventual disposal of your current car into your footprint calculations) The blanket around your water heater is also a bit of a marketing/media ploy.
As an electrical engineer that focuses on engineered energy management, I applaud efforts to go green. I do however wish there was more emphasis (in the media and otherwise) on long term green.

Accounting for potential manufacturing costs of new green items and eventual disposal costs of old items changes the footprint landscape a great deal. Bottom line - if you dont use it alot, its cheaper and better (ie greener) to use something till it dies, then replace it with something much more green.

4/03/2007 8:27 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

N. Ryan,
Thanks for your comment. I did wonder about which option is truly greener - keeping my VW until it dies or selling it to get a Prius. But I think I'm leaning towards the Prius because of the message it sends, both to the car companies and to my neighbors. And because my VW is getting 15 (15!) miles to the gallon in the city. Unbelievable. But part of me does worry about selling my VW when it's only 4 years old. It seems kind of wasteful.

4/03/2007 9:37 AM  
Blogger amelia said...

i think it's worth remembering that you're not just going to junk your VW. you're going to sell it. presumably to someone who needs a car and would be getting one to drive anyway, since a 2003 VW passat is not exactly a car that people purchase just to have in their collection.

4/03/2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous n. ryan said...

The domino effect does have to be considered when buying new anything. In the case of a car, while buying a new Prius is great for you from an image/mindset standpoint, the overall effect has to be considered.

Without going in to much detail, the two major issues are:

1. You will be losing a great deal of money by upgrading your car. While this is not a bad thing necessarily, that money could be used in more effective green endevors.

2. I wont quote any studies, but in general, after all the reselling and rebuying is done, buying a new car prematurely generally results in someone else scrapping an old car prematurely. That green effect has to be weighed also. While some old cars definately use to much gas and pollute too much, from an green economic standpoint its not always wise to junk them prematurely.

Like I said before, I admire your efforts. If it was me, Id keep your car and money, and buy a nice bike with a big basket. That sends a message to your neighbors as well.

4/03/2007 3:03 PM  

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