I generally think that personal carbon footprint calculators vastly underestimate the ways we impact the world, and are a tool of rampant greenwashing. But nevertheless I just calculated our “footprint” using Low Impact Living’s calculator and am happy to report that we are “pretty low impact” with a score of 49.
Some of the projects that it suggests we work on to reduce our score are things we’ve been thinking about, but slacking on.
One is setting up a clothesline. I hate line dried clothing, I’m not going to lie. The stiffness drives me crazy and they always end up making me all itchy and uncomfortable. But I can get away with line drying and then popping them into the drier for ten minutes or so to soften them up.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about a lot, particularly with the current water situation in California, is ways to capture and use less water. Buying rainwater buckets and recycling gray water are expensive ways to save water (if you do them in a legit way). But right now, for example, the pipes that leave our washing machine are plugged up so all the water overflows into a bucket in our laundry room. Since we use biodegradable laundry detergent, I use that bucket to water stuff in the yard. Now I’m not advocating plugging up your pipes for the purpose of graywater collection, but it’s working for us.
The website also suggests planting a rain water garden, so that water runoff from walkways and lawns doesn’t end up in storm drains. Apparently if you do it right, rain gardens can reduce runoff by 30%. I’m going to do more research about what the hell they are talking about with this one.
And finally, I’m almost ready to commit to investing in low-flow shower heads. The thought of it makes me shudder, but it seems like the right thing to do. Right?