A Smaller Footprint

Today as I was beginning to flatten cardboard boxes for recycling day I admit I was initially annoyed at having to do this. I thought about all of the cardboard that doesn’t get recycled, would my few boxes really matter? Then I thought about what had been in the boxes and I realized that they were all things bought in the last few weeks-the last time  I had put out cardboard for recycling.

And then in one moment I was really glad to be doing exactly what I was doing…I felt that I was at least doing something to reduce my footprint, at least a little. I looked at the couple of glass bottles and paper that I was also putting out on the road for the recyclers to pick up tomorrow morning…and then I imagined for one moment how great it would be if everyone recycled. Some cities are beginning to make it mandatory, which sadly may be the only way to have recycling happen on a large scale.

Somehow we Americans have become pretty lazy in quite a few areas and taking care of the environment seems to be one area where we have really been slacking off. In the end it comes down to each of us doing our part and letting our leaders know that this is of utmost importance to us.

I am often thinking about how I can reduce my impact on the earth. I am pretty good about turning off lights and other electrical equipment. I often use candles instead of lamps. I shop at farmers markets, recycle, I don’t buy bottled water unless I am traveling and it is the only way to get clean water-but I travel with my own water bottle so I can buy  one big container and fill up my bottle. I take public transportation when I travel if it is available…actually I love being able to take public transportation.

I am thinking even more about this footprint of mine since I recently had a chance to see the film No Impact Man. We were previewing it for the Santa Fe Farmers Market Film Series, which runs through May, and I loved it as did the rest of the committee who saw it. If you don’t know the story of No Impact Man, it is the story of a husband, wife and their two year old daughter and their year living without making an impact on the environment. What makes the film especially great is that they live in Manhattan and the wife is far from an environmentalist but she is a good sport who goes along with the project. They walk up stairs (they live on the 9th floor of their building), shop locally, stop buying new items, get rid of their tv, and sweetly discover just how good life can be living more consciously. The film and its stars, don’t advocate doing what they did or making such a drastic change in our lives, but they do show it is possible and it offers great ideas on how we can all begin to reduce our footprints…it is not that difficult in some areas, and it can bring huge rewards.

If you want to learn more about No Impact Man he still has an ongoing blog and you can read more here.