Since today is Earth Day, I need to go against my reputation as an anti-environmentalist tree-killer, and make some suggestions for how you can slightly improve your corner of the planet.
These suggestions are painless and will not have any harmful effects, such as raising the price of tortillas in Mexico, or encouraging people to cut down the rain forests in order to grow corn for ethanol. However, since they don’t involve asking other people to suffer, practicing these suggestions might not give you that hot self-righteous feeling that crusaders everywhere seek.
1. Re-thinking Halloween Pumpkins
Americans use enough pumpkins at Halloween to feed the entire countries of South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe for a year. (And Nikita testifies that they all like their pumpkins.) In fact, if they ate all the pumpkins that we wasted, their skin would turn orange. Just think about the amount of land, fertilizer, and fuel wasted on Halloween.
If you are planning your garden now you can do something. Instead of planting useless Jack-o-Lanterns, plant yummy pie pumpkins or winter squash. “Make up” the squash instead of carving it, and then you will be able to eat it later. If you buy your halloween pumpkins, remember this in six months, and buy something edible instead.
Incidentally, winter squash can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration, which means that they are environmentally friendly vegetables.
2. Get and Stay Married
There are obvious efficiencies when two people live together. For one thing, the thermostat can be set lower when you are both under the same blanket. Divorce, in addition to wasting countless resources on lawyers, is horrendous for the environment. I don’t know why environmentalists haven’t noticed this.
When the parents are separated, there is the additional resource drain of keeping two households. The households both have to be the part-time homes for the kids, so they are both larger than necessary, and there are two households to heat. Additionally, there are the costs of shared custody, which usually involves wasting gas as the kids are shuttled around.
3. Have one Parent stay home with the kids
I know this is heresy in our age of women’s liberation, but if one of the parents stays home with the kids, it is advantageous for the environment.
A stay-at home mom is much more likely to cook from scratch and avoid processed food. Therefore less garbage will be generated. For example, every loaf of bread you make at home does not have a paper or plastic wrapper. There will be fewer meals out, and most likely there will be less driving. Homeschooling is even more efficient, because it gets the stinky school bus out of the picture.