Enviro action at home made simple

Well, simple to understand, but the spirit of Gar Smith’s 50 Difficult Things You Can Do to Save the Earth lives on. Umbra over at Grist gives a quick, peer-reviewed overview of highly effective environmental choices. Topping the list, naturally: “buy the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible, and use it as little as possible,” followed by home energy efficiency (lightbulbs, appliances, windows) and citizen action (letter writing, joining groups). The Consumption Manifesto puts it all a bit more elegantly:

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
  2. Stay close to home.
  3. Internal combustion engines are polluting and their use should be minimized.
  4. Watch what you eat.
  5. Private industries have very little incentive to improve their environmental practices.
  6. Support thoughtful innovations in manufacturing and production.
  7. Prioritize. Think hardest when buying large objects.
  8. Vote.
  9. Don’t feel guilty. It only makes you sad.
  10. Enjoy what you have — the things that are yours alone, and the things that belong to none of us.

This comes to mind partly because someone on the Critical Mass list keeps retreading some tired PETA numbers about how meat is worse for the environment than driving. Um, nope; that’s specious even on the weight principle: even if the average American goes through hundreds of pounds of meat each year, that’s nothing compared to the collectively thousands of pounds of car and car-related products (principally gas & oil), and the environmental impact of the latter per pound vastly exceeds the impact of the former. Sure, we should all curb meat consumption and eat lower on the food chain, but I’m not about to be guilt-tripped into changing my well-considered, mostly-local, low-meat, high-organic diet anytime soon.