By Laura Mills
I’ve never been very active in conservation or environmental activism. Sure, I recycle, I try not to waste paper, I only turn on the washing machine and dishwasher when they’re full…but I’ve never done anything out of the ordinary to lessen my impact on the planet. This summer, though, as the hotter-than-usual temperatures kept appearing on the weather outlook, I started to think more and more about my impact.
I know if I really wanted, I could take any of a number of actions like joining an environmental group or “greening” my daily routine as much as possible. But I wanted to do something IMMEDIATE, like in the ten minutes before I left for class one particular afternoon. So, remembering a few suggestions from a magazine, I closed all curtains to keep the house cooler and unplugged all unnecessary appliances and electronics to conserve energy.
No, I’m not congratulating myself on single-handedly ending climate change; I didn’t for a minute believe I would save the planet by darkening my living room or unplugging my bedside lamp. But I did survive just fine without conveniences ready at a moment’s notice, which as a human being today IS a very big deal. The planet may not be better off from my efforts, but I am, as I added just a little more simplicity—not to mention what I believe is good karma—to the world around me.
And besides, first steps are often pretty small, anyway.