i like to think of myself as someone who cares about the environment. i'm concientious with recycling & separate out all my paper, vegetable scraps, plastics/glass/cans and other rubbish. i try to reuse plastic containers and bags as much as i can. i avoid buying bottled water unless i'm desperate, use discarded boxes at pak'n'save to take my groceries home, and carry my shopping sans plastic bags from as many retailers as i'm able. i haven't planted trees myself, although my garden is full of them.
but there is one area of my life where i am unable (or more accurately, unwilling) to reduce my carbon footprint. appliances. i love them. i can not possibly imagine living a life without my dishwasher, clothes dryer, dehumidifier, heater, rice-cooker, food-processor, microwave, computer, mobile phone and electric blanket.
i'm talking about the (basically) non-essentials here, ie not just the stove, vacuum cleaner, telephone and washing machine which the majority of households couldn't manage without. i'm talking about all those extra devices which exist purely to save time or to provide comfort. in this regard, i'm a total urbanite. for me, a fun holiday does not involve camping in a tent, cooking on an open fire, relieving myself in a hole in the ground, and bathing in the nearest lake or river. no way. i want a decent motel/hotel with all the modern comforts available.
i know it's naughty, and i often feels quite decadent when the dishwasher, the dryer, the laptop and the dehumidifier are all going at the same time. but i can't seem to help myself. some of these appliances are crucial to me as a working mum with a hectic lifestyle. i just don't have energy at the end of a busy day to be doing a whole pile of dishes or hanging out and taking in the clothes. the dehumidifier is a health requirement - i find that my asthma is a lot worse if i don't use it in the winter months.
but most of them are just habit, a part of modern living. but i wouldn't have any of them taken away. i grew up in the era before mobile phones, but now i can't imagine living without mine. i grew up writing with pen and paper, but now i only feel comfortable composing on the computer. i love the concept of electronic books and MP3s (even though i don't own these), so that you can have access to thousands of songs or books in one easy and small device.
generally, i think progress is a wonderful thing, and i don't tend to look back into the past with any kind of nostalgia. what i'd really like, though, is to be able to enjoy my appliances without any kind of guilt. to me, they represent freedom. in the sense that they free up my time, which means that i can blog, i can volunteer for various organisations, i can be politically active, i can do all sorts of things that i wouldn't have been able to do if i didn't have these appliances.
i think of most of my appliances as feminists devices that enable to me achieve and that give me choices i wouldn't otherwise have had. so what's the best way to mitigate my huge carbon footprint without giving up my beloved appliances?