. What do you for the birds and the bees? According to the report in Newsweek, we need to plant a pollinator garden to counteract the effect pollution, pesticides and habitat destruction are having on birds, bees and insects. Bees, for instance, like yellow, blue and purple flowers.
Well, living in the inner city as we do, we don’t have much of a garden. But our Port Jackson fig has lots of fruit all year that attracts fruit bats – does that count?
2. Household products. Chemical or organic? Household chemicals contribute to indoor and outdoor pollution.
Pretty much chemical around our house. But the after trying all types of hair lice treatment, we have realised that the organic is more effective, so that may be true for other cleaners as well… watch this space.
3. Do you junk?
We do try to give things away to charity rather than throwing them out, but we’ve never bothered to get a junk mail stick for our letter boxs, guilty on that one.
4. Air-dry or tumble-dry? Line-drying saves money and stops carbon emissions.
Unfortunately the Port Jackson fig (see above) drops fruit all over our clothesline at all times of the year. So we tumble dry. I much prefer the feel and smell of air dried, so if I wasn’t so lazy, I would rig something up on our roof terrace, instead of the line in the backyard.
5. Old gadgets. Recycle or toss ‘em? According to the report, we have to find a way not to fill up landfills with electronic objects.
We try and “recycle” them, by giving them to charity, or selling them on ebay if they’re any good, but they often don’t want them (justifibly, in many cases)
6. Lightbulbs – incandescent or fluorescent? Fluorescent light bulbs use 70% less power and last ten times as long.
Flourescent. That’s an easy one. Although much of our house uses halogen bulbs, which have no substitute (that I know of).
7. Meat or veg? Meat production is energy inefficient. It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat.
Meat two or three times a week – I’m a pretty carnivorous type. Mind you, in our household, the real ideological discussion is about fish – much of the fish available in Australia (e.g. orange roughy) is so overfished that by eating it you are contributing to the near extinction of a species – is that better or worse than eating grain fed meat that takes up too much landspace?
8. Loo paper. Virgin or recycled? The paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming. If every U.S. household replaced one toilet-paper roll with a roll made from recycled paper, 424,000 trees would be saved.
I’m afraid after many years on recycled, we’ve gradually slid back to the more comfortable virgin loo paper. Interestingly, I tend to use recycled when I’m at an eco-friendly hotel (when no-one is watching) – just to give myself a frisson of smug environmentalism.
9. Tap or bottled water? According to Newsweek, it takes a lot of oil to make and ship water bottles, and most end up in landfills.
Tap. Can’t be bothered with buying water. And it’s got fluoride in it, and I’d rather keep my teeth when I’m old.
10. Dating – metrosexual or ecosexual? Newsweek says two recyclers are better than one.
I think we’re pretty similar on this one.
I found this meme frustrating (which is Newsweek’s fault, not Charlotte’s!) as the two major things we do in this house for the environment are:
– only run one car and catch public transport as much as possible
– use as little water as possible by not watering our garden, having very water efficient showerheads, and being fairly casual about flushing the toilet after a wee.
I suspect that most of these are likely to have more lasting effects than the Newsweek suggestions (except possibly the tumble drying, which I do feel guilty about).