Thank god. Earth Day 2008 has come and gone and we can go back to leisure drives in our Suburbans and liberal watering of our front lawns. Time to ditch those canvas grocery bags- who thinks that far ahead?- and return to good old plastic. It’s not like we’re completely undoing all the good we did yesterday for the Earth- those elms we planted will continue to offset our carbon output all year long!
Okay, we kid. Obviously, awareness of environmental issues in any form is positive, and although we’d like to see people change their habits year-round- rather than a day or two in late April- Earth Day serves to at least call attention to some of the things we can all be doing.
Most of them aren’t hard. Janet Stemwedel at Adventures in Ethics and Science has a great post on the changes her household has incorporated to minimize their consumption. Unfortunately, she seems to be the exception and not the rule; as Matt Nisbet at Framing Science reports, commitment to lifestyle changes has not significantly changed in the past eight years; in fact, the percentage of Americans who say they have made either major or minor changes has dropped 6%.
Some changes are harder to make than others. In New York, taking public transportation is par for the course. But after a run in the infamous East Coast humidity, it is much more difficult to cut short a long, cold shower, even though you know you are conserving water by doing so.
What changes have been the hardest for you to make? Do you miss the convenience of plastic water bottles, or pine for exotic fruits you can’t get locally? Are your carpool companions driving you crazy?
Leave a comment! What has been your experience with the personal impact of an environmentally-conscious lifestyle?