Is the Recession Making Your Life More Eco-friendly?

| 3/27/2009 3:43:35 PM

With media outlets from the New York Times to individual blog "reporters" typing at their kitchen tables covering the recession — with news, conjecture and as many opinions as there are people — one facet of all this doom and gloom that isn't getting much attention is the impact of the recession on our collective environmental footprint, especially all that consumer-culture waste we seem so eager to flog ourselves over.

The Washington Post reported that landfills around the country are noticing significant decreases in the amount of trash they're receiving, and it's logical to conclude that if a newfound frugality means less shopping, that also means less waste for the trash pile. Think about it: fewer purchases means less packaging (cardboard, plastic, packing peanuts, Styrofoam, etc.), and not just when you're talking about a new flat-screen t.v. Cooking at home often translates into more fresh produce and fewer frozen dinner purchases. And since we're all buying fewer new things, it seems we're more inclined to repair what we have or purchase or trade used items. All of these decisions result in less trash. Not to mention that a lower demand for goods can  — and does, as we've been seeing a lot lately — lead to factory closings. The obvious, serious, bad news there is that hardworking men and women are losing their jobs and their ability to support themselves and their families, at least temporarily. On the other side, one less factory running means one less factory sending contaminants into the air and/or water. Looking around, it seems that one silver lining to the current state of economic affairs might just be less environmental damage from our particular species.

What do you think? Have you noticed less waste and trash in your life because of the recession? Do you think that we might hold on to the better lessons from this experience as we move forward, ultimately, to more prosperous times? 

4/14/2009 4:10:03 PM

Makes complete sense to me. We all seem to grasp what it means to be eco friendly...but no necessarily how our own economics affect the ecology. We all need to know that every cent we spend affects the ecology in many ways. Thanks for helping to spread the eco-eco news!

4/10/2009 9:56:02 AM

I see plenty of changes. When gas went up, my husband stopped making fun of my desire to carpool into town with him once a week. Now that nobody has job security and we've got almost seven months' salary squirreled away, he's stopped making fun of me for cutting corners to satisfy my need to save. Stopped griping about taking his lunch three days a week instead of eating out all the time. He's stopped making fun of my garden, my clothesline, and my desire to do whatever work we can on rickety upholstered barn we live in myself. He dug a hole for a permanent clothesline post-- now my clothesline is not hung from an O-ring in the side of the house. Since I got him to read a bunch of the articles the power company has sent around about how much cap-and-trade is going to cost us, he's gone from just saying we can't, to helping me research how to properly insulate this damn shanty. He hasn't started splitting wood yet, but he did go buy a maul and a wedge and he even watched the kids while I went out and cut up little stuff with the bowsaw. Once he even asked me to show him how to build a fire in the stove-- quite a change from sitting on the couch ignoring the baby while I do the work. I imagine a lot of people are doing the same. Is it enough??? Nowhere near. Eco-nazi logic isn't necessary to see that-- just a look at history with a lens made of anything other than the laziness and greed that's become the fabric of our culture. It's heartening to see people thinking about the stuff they use, but I don't think it will last. As soon as they can, they'll revert to the same old ways of doing things, for thesame reasons that those ways caugth on in the first place-- they are convenient, easy, and immediately gratifying. Things like cap-and-trade are certainly highly corruptible and exploitable. I expect that they will be corrupted and exploited, and nothing else will change. I can see one-- and o

somethingisrooten indenmark
4/7/2009 3:43:25 AM

If there is less bear poo in the forest may we conclude that there were fewer hunters consumed? If we build more churches in a community and more crime happens does church cause crime? Does consuming an increased amount of ice cream cause drowning? Lets use proper reasoning here! Bears may be burying their poo. The more churches found in a community the larger the population and therefore more crime. The more ice cream consumed the hotter it is and the more people swim and consequently drown. “The Washington Post reported that landfills around the country are noticing significant decreases in the amount of trash they're receiving…. newfound frugality means less shopping, that also means less waste for the trash pile. ” There is no direct correlation here people! Second point we’re quoting the “Washington post”? Why not quote the “inquirer” after all, both do REAL credible reporting… I’m sure this passed the polit bureau in the Washington post but obviously no one thought to run this by a thinker…you know some one with a brain who uses it on a regular basis…. And here’s to hoping this post does not get erased…ALL HAIL TO OUR SAVIOR OBAMA ! Now I feel dirty…..I’m going to take a bath…

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