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29 April 2008

EcoJustice08

Have you read the EcoJustice08 blog yet? If not, go to this site setup by Emily of Telecommuter Talk. Read about her challenge to you to challenge yourself to change in ways to benefit the planet.
Emily writes that this is about justice, not simply environmentalism:
The term “ecojustice” encompasses justice for all of creation (plant, other animal, and human alike). It does not assume any one species (i.e. human) is better than any other species. It assumes that within the human race, those who are most negatively affected by the rape of the earth are the poor ... and that by making this planet a safer and better place to live, all will benefit. It assumes that every living being on this planet deserves its rightful, ecological place (whether certain species want others here or not). It also assumes that we humans are the ones doing the most damage with the most means to stop what we are doing.
Mostly, I agree with this philosophy, although I have to consider the comment about no species being better than another. I'm not sure that I can agree with that, but I do agree that even if other species are not our equal, humans have a responsibility to be good stewards of this planet and life on it.

Participants in this challenge will commit to trying at least one change each quarter that can have a positive impact and bring about ecojustice. Then, if you wish, blog about your experiences incorporating that change into your life.

I've already taken on one change so far this year: using canvas tote bags instead of grocery sacks. It is a simple change, one that causes little disruption in one's life. But, it's damn difficult to remember to bring those bags with you to the market!

This weekend, my local Farmer's Market opens. Usually I skip the local markets during May as there is little offered that I usually eat until the local summer vegetables are in season. But, I'm going to stop by to see if that is the case again this year. I don't know much about the 'eat local' movement, but from what I do know, it makes sense to buy locally grown foods.

My new commitment for this month is to make use of the Energy Efficiency Kit provided by the local power company. This kit was available in limited quantities to those who asked for one. When I heard about this, I dug out my bill to get my account number and registered. The kit contains:
- two CFLs (a 14-watt, the equivalent of a 60 watt incandescent, and a 20-watt, equal to a 75-watt incandescent.
- a water-saving showerhead
- a hot water gauge
- a refrigerator thermometer
- a luminescent night light
- switch & outlet draft-stoppers
- water flow meter bag.

I replaced many of the incandescent bulbs in my house a few months ago. But, these 2 bulbs will force me to do a recheck. I bet there are still a few incandescents in fixtures in my son's room. Since he'll be home from school in a week, I need to check it out.

I used the water flow meter bag on my kitchen sink. It passed the efficiency test, but I'm sure that there are some bathroom faucets that won't fare as well. Once we know which aren't efficient, it will be off to the hardware store to buy plumbing parts (aerators, etc).

The Hot Water Gauge was put to use immediately. Results: kitchen sink temperature was below scalding and in the 'OK' zone, but it was above the recommended 120-130 degree zone.

I'll try the others. If I can't use the showerhead, I will give it to someone who can (and will). Since the Water Flow Meter Bag is a plastic bag, similar to a bread bag or a newspaper bag, once I'm done, I'll pass it along to someone else who will use it. I'll have to assess the fridge temperature. I'd guess that there is a wider gap that there should be between bottom shelf and top shelf. It's an old unit and I doubt that it is EnergyStar compliant. The Night Light isn't something that I'll use, but I will install the draft-stoppers.

I have other ideas of how I will take on this challenge, such as a few books I want to read (thanks to Emily for an interesting title that will soon find its way to my front door), a commitment to learn more about issues related to ecojustice, possibly riding my bike to work (we'll have to see how that goes! I'm sure there will be a story in that effort -- or two!), and some discussions here about topics related to poverty and environmental sustainability, along with, I hope, the occasional photograph of the natural world.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, visit the EcoJustice blog and consider joining us. Even if you don't want to be an active participant and blog about your efforts on your site, you can read along for suggestions that you can incorporate in your home or office.

2 comments:

chiefbiscuit said...

We all need to be thinking along these lines; it's inevitable. Thanks for the examples.

Emily Barton said...

You're not the only one who isn't sure about the whole species thing. Most of us are. Ask someone if they had a choice between saving a human child or a chicken, and well, I'd be surprised to hear him or her say the chicken. I always say it's a great argument for Darwinianism. We care first and foremost about protecting (i.e. caring) for our own species.

Anyway, thanks so much for joining. Sounds like we're all going to be learning a lot.