Sunday, March 15, 2009


The title of this post is the headline of an article in the SustainableLife section of the Portland Tribune this week. The author suggests that we return to a "daylight society" by not using light bulbs, except for essential things like hospitals. The resulting society would be more environmentally sensible, and our lives would be less hectic and more meaningful.

There was another article in the paper recently about a couple who decided that refrigerators are bad environmentally, and they unplugged theirs. They shop every day and keep perishables in a cooler chest - using ice brought home from the office ice machine.

This is great stuff. We need to do even more. Why, just this morning, as I sat in the "library" reading this article, I had what I'll call a "plumbing epiphany" - the common toilet is an environmental disaster! How many millions of gallons of pure, clean, treated , drinkable water are used annually to transport my bodily wastes through pipes to the sewage treatment plant and then out to the river? And we can't leave out the dire impacts of the manufacture and disposal of toilet paper.

But wait - I've got the oven on right now baking some chicken - what a colossal waste of natural gas and electricity just to cook food (and what about the impact of raising and transporting the chicken?). You know, we're down to only one automobile in this family, but I feel guilty every time I drive it - the petroleum, the exhaust, the pollution. I ask myself, what's the environmental cost of the asphalt I'm driving on? This has to stop!!!

So we're ditching our light bulbs, and we have a year's supply of soy-based candles (we'll rub sticks together to light them so we don't emit chemicals to the atmosphere by lighting matches). The refrigerator, stove, furnace, water heater? Gone - to the recycling center. We're gathering firewood throughout the neighborhood (will the Park Bureau miss a few trees from the park?). We've planted as many vegetables as we can fit into our small yard, and the new chicks will be here tomorrow. I sure hope the pigs don't bother the neighbors with all their grunting. I've almost got the pit dug in the yard for the outhouse, and we hope the leaves will be out soon on all the trees and shrubs so we can use them to....uh, well, you know.

Sustainable Life - that's us!

OK, OK....a bit too much tongue in cheek? In fact, human societies do need to become more sustainable, and there are a lot of great things going on now that will result in big changes in the future. But seriously, return to the Dark Ages by getting rid of light bulbs? Maybe the Tribune included the light bulb article for comic relief - I laughed heartily while reading it. And you know, a good laugh helps sustain us all.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a case of doing what you can. We can't all live like "Little House on the Prairie" (much as I would like too be Laura!). As you said, you drive just one car - that's a contribution. I'm a vegetarian which supposedly is the same as taking an SUV off the road for a year. So I feel good about that until I remember how much I've flown this year . . . yikes! Maybe I'll have to get rid of the lightbulbs after all.