Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What, me worry?

It's not easy being Green.  As an environmentalist who is deeply concerned about the fragile state of our ecosystems, I want to do all I can to reduce my footprint.  But I'm often in a quandary as to what the best action is.

For example, I started going to local farmers' markets because I want to support the production of food closer to home (and also, admittedly, because the produce and goodies you find there taste a lot better than the supermarket variety!) But, to get there, I do a lot more driving.  How ecological is it to spend 30 minutes in the car to pick up some tomatoes and lettuce as I did today?

Another vexing question is transportation.  A public transit user all my life, it is only when I moved to Nanaimo that I began driving everywhere, because the transit system here is terrible - buses come once an hour, there are few, if any shelters, no service on statutory holidays, and several areas with no bus service at all (there is none to the Duke Point ferry, if you can believe it!).

So I have a car, a small, very fuel-efficient one.  But now hybrids are widely available and affordable, and I've been thinking I should replace my reliable but aging vehicle with a less gas-guzzling form of transportation. But what about the energy costs that go into producing a new car?  And although my car's manufacturer makes great claims about recycling, how much of a car can you really recycle?

It's hard to figure out what is right to do. What helps is that by living in cohousing, I have a community of people who share my values and are struggling with some of the same questions. We are trying to do the best we can, and perhaps that's good enough.

As a wise friend of mine once told me, "In reality, we can only do things one small step at a time. So I focus on the small things I can do and find satisfaction and contentment in that."


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