Every cloud has its silver lining. Even clouds as dark and threatening as the ones looming over Wall Street. As Americans, and citizens across the world for that matter, tighten their wallets in anticipation of rougher times they are also eliminating some of the frivolous and wasteful activities that once frequented their schedules. (Anyone still up for cruising the strip in the ‘Stang?) And, maybe, they’re finding eco-friendly substitutes in the process. (Let’s ride bikes downtown!)
This concept can be as simple as occasionally replacing beef with tofu (a cheaper option with a lighter carbon footprint) or as drastic as moving from the three-bedroom, two-bath house to the one-cone tee-pee (not entirely serious about this one but if push ever came to shove, tee-pee assembly skills could become quite valuable.) And, of course, there’s a wide variety of in-betweens.
Let’s start with what starts the day for millions of Americans: coffee. Where I live a cup-of-Joe runs about $2, depending on whether or not I tip the barista for momentarily ignoring her hangover and shooting me a quick smile. Places like Starbucks are notorious for their lack of recycling so in addition to saving nearly $10 a week, five disposable cups remain undisposed. And if your relatives or friends don’t have an extra coffee maker lying around, or you don’t want to buy a food preparation item from a second hand store (times aren’t that hard yet, apparently) inexpensive coffee makers are awash on the internet. It would be a small investment that would pay for itself in about two months.
Now let’s talk about gas, baby. There’s no need to mention something as well known as the ridiculously outrageous price of gasoline (ha, just did anyway!) but there is a need to scream out the elephant sized solution that straight dumbfounds some folk. Public transportation works and it is less expensive then driving automobiles. So if you can take it, but don’t, let’s face it: you are part of the problem. Add a bicycle to the mix and it’s the ultimate one, two punch. Ride to the bus stop, toss your wheels onboard, cruise across town while reading the paper then finish off the job via bike. Wait don’t read a newspaper, it costs $.50 and then you have to find a recycling bin. Just close your eyes and hum a Cat Stevens song. That’s perfectly acceptable.
Ok, so obviously I’ve gone overboard. I realize I may be coming off as a rabid hippie. The truth is I’m not. I love football and beer. I just want people to know that they can do it! They can make their own coffee and ride the bus to work. It’s actually blissful in addition to being eco-friendly. And you’ll see the savings immediately.
I feel the need to disclose the fact I’ve drank coffee shop brew in the past and will drink it in the future as well. Come to think of it I did it this morning. I’ve also driven aimlessly on sleepless nights. So I’m not trying to preach. I’d rather think of this as an approach. Here are some other ways to approach daily activities. Do them when, or if, you can. If it’s only a start, so be it. It’s better than nothing.