We approach the date of reckoning, May 31, having reached several goals this past month.
We drove less.
We got substantially better gas mileage when we DID drive.
We saved many kilowatts of electricity. (Seriously, kilowatts? Can this country make up its mind, are we going to go metric or are we going to slog on for centuries with that other incomprehensible/illogical measuring system?)
We made less waste, by composting and conserving and recycling more diligently.
We ordered renewable energy through the Snohomish County PUD website.
We unplugged our extra freezer. (We emptied it first.)
We reduced our junk mail and planted some trees through greendimes.com.
We unplugged minor appliances and chargers religiously.
And wow - 28 days later, and none of that hurt. Our standard of living remained pretty privileged overall. We still drove to Camano Island for a weekend. We continued to take hot showers that lasted a little too long. We once even took home some styrofoam boxes when we ordered Chinese. (Those we do feel pretty bad about, come to think of it.) We still turned the heat on when we needed it, which was a lot in the first half of the month. We still ran the computer for hours each day, just not endlessly as we had before.
So did we really sacrifice? Some, we suppose, but it was of the mild, painless variety. Instead of depriving ourselves, we lived more responsibly. I guess you could say we acted more like adults and less like spoiled children. Had to eventually happen.
Now, can we trim more off of our carbon footprint? Sure. And we'd love to. This was a great jump-start for our family, a chance to get serious about our environmental impact because for once, we were being held a little accountable.
We'll measure our May emissions in a few days and feel good about ourselves and how much we slashed in a month. Then instead of reverting to "we're-too-busy-to-make-a-difference" mode, we'll do our best to maintain our good new habits. Maybe it'll matter.