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1 April, 2007

Eco-meme

This meme questionnaire, discovered via Calephetos, is an opportunity to elaborate on an aspect of my belief system: I don't like the Green party.

Environmentalism is a religion like any other, pushing its morality just as much as evangelist christianity. I consider all evangelism offensive, and no less when it's non-theistic: I react badly when I'm told to act in a certain way not for any sensible reason but because it's the 'right' thing.

So why do the cultists consider me a fellow-traveller, and presume I'm indoctrinated? Perhaps because my lifestyle isn't actually far from their regime; the fundamental difference is that I act rationally, not 'ethically'.

The instructions:

A. Copy the list below to your own blog and:
- Bold the actions you are already taking
- Underline the actions you plan to start taking
- Italicise the actions that don't apply to you

B. Add one (or more) suggested action(s) of your own.

C. Leave a comment here, so the originator can track the meme and copy your suggested action(s) back to the master list.

The questionnaire:
  1. Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
    All but the desk lamps.

  2. Choose energy efficient appliances
    Those I bought myself, yes, but I inherited my cooker, fridge and freezer.

  3. Wash clothes in cold(er) water

  4. Turn the thermostat of your hot water tank down to 50C (125F)
    I'm pretty sure it's lower.

  5. Install a programmable thermostat (or turn the heat down over night and when you're out of the house)
    The thermostat came with the boiler, so I can't claim credit, but I don't recall living in a house which didn't have one. I couldn't imagine living in always-on heat – it'd be awful.

  6. Register with the [Canadian Marketing Association's] Do Not Contact Service to reduce the amount of junk mail delivered to your house.
    Well, the UK equivalent, the Mailing Preference Service (MPS). Also the Royal Mail's underpublicised opt-out facility: the MPS only covers junk mail addressed to named individuals, so it's necessary to decline unaddressed junk separately. Don't overlook it!

  7. Eat less meat (particularly feedlot beef)
    Not a chance. I eat meat daily, and animal welfare is not remotely a priority for me (barring deliberate cruelty).

  8. Walk, bike, carpool or take public transit as often as possible
    I walk to locations within ~2 km, cycle anywhere within ~25 km, and travel longer distances by train. I don't own a car.

  9. Make sure you know what can be recycled in your area, and try to recycle as much household waste as possible
    Yes, but the local council fails to accept major categories of recycleable waste, so I'm obliged to discard rather more than if I lived elsewhere. I get round that to some extent via my purchasing decisions – not buying in the first place is better than buying then recycling.

  10. Compost using an outdoor compost bin or an indoor vermicomposter
    I don't have a garden, nor a yard large enough for a composting bin.

  11. Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner

  12. Buy local, organic or fair trade food where possible
    If the food I want is produced locally, and is available where I shop anyway (supermarkets), I'll buy it. However, I wouldn't shop elsewhere to specifically seek-out local produce, and I buy local goods solely to reduce food miles, not to artificially support local producers.
    I would never knowingly buy organic (pointless excuse to inflate prices) and never Fairtrade (appalling tokenist slacktivism).

  13. Reduce air travel
    Not a chance. International travel is far too important to me. As my other responses demonstrate, I make reasonable efforts at sustainability, but I'm damned if I'm going to curtail my lifestyle 'for the planet'.

  14. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
    I go one better: I use a boiler which only heats as much water as is needed, when it's needed. Why maintain a larger quantity of water at an elevated temperature, just in case it's wanted?

  15. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible
    I don't have either; I dry clothes on an indoor rack.

  16. Plant a tree
    I was a conservation volunteer in my teens (when I was considering a career in forestry), so it's safe to say I've done my share....

  17. Buy fresh foods instead of frozen (Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce)
    I buy frozen peas and chopped tomatoes in cans, but otherwise everything is fresh. And unpackaged – if buying, say, a red pepper, I put a red pepper in my shopping basket, protected by its own skin. No bag is required.

  18. Keep your car tuned up and your tires inflated to their optimal pressure
    No car.

  19. Use biodegradable dishwashing liquid, laundry soap powder, etc.
    I can't say this affects my purchasing decisions, though I think the ones I buy anyway qualify.

  20. Drink tap water (filtered if necessary) rather than buying bottled water
    I've never understood the desire for bottled water, except if travelling in areas where the local water quality is in doubt. No, London doesn't count.

  21. Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth

  22. Unplug seldom-used appliances and chargers for phones, cameras, etc., when you're not using them
    I hadn't realised there were people who did otherwise.

  23. Plug air leaks and drafts around doors and windows with weatherstripping
    That's a problem in this house. The back door is warped, so the air gaps are a bit too big for standard remediation. I need a new door and doorstep. There are also airbricks in the front and back walls (one each), which allow an appreciable draught, but I cook & heat using gas, so can't block off the necessary ventilation.

  24. Switch from disposable to reusable products: food and beverage containers, cups, plates, writing pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags, etc.

  25. Consider garage sales, Freecycle, eBay, or borrowing from friends/family before buying a new tool or appliance
    Hmm. Maybe. Depends what it is. I'd be concerned about the safety, reliability and remaining lifespan of some items, and would be more inclined to buy new.

  26. Reuse bathwater, maybe to flush the loo, water the garden, etc.
    It's an interesting idea, but frankly water isn't that scarce in NW England. I suppose it'd be marginally better to reuse water than to use fresh, treated drinking water, but that's a bit too marginal for me. Besides, I very rarely take baths; I shower.

  27. Make sure your roof is well-insulated.
    It was when I bought the house, but if it hadn't been, that's something I'd have done.

  28. Always wear a jumper/sweater and socks indoors unless it's warm enough outdoors to go without both.
    Well, yes, obviously. That is obvious, isn't it?
And my extra:
Consider your needs, not merely your wants. I'm not saying 'renounce material possessions', but don't accumulate things too casually, on a whim.

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