Revoking the smoking (Day 152)…

July 30, 2007

lucky strikes

Before you freak out, let me just clarify this: I’m not a smoker. I haven’t made over 150 environmentally friendly changes to my lifestyle while sucking back dozens of cancer sticks every day. There used to be an emergency pack in my freezer, but even that became unnecessary (and besides, I don’t even have a freezer now).

However, on occasion — and by that I mean a drunken, late-night, hedonistic, I-wish-I-was-Audrey-Hepburn sort of occasion — if someone offered me a smoke, I’d take it. Call it an oral fixation, a succumbing to peer pressure or what have you (personally, I think it just satisfies my need to fidget, with the bonus of a head rush); either way, it’s a nasty habit that doesn’t just pollute my lungs but pollutes the air, not to mention all the non-biodegradable butts that more often end up on the streets than in the garbage.

So as of today, no more smoking. This includes all forms of tobacco and, er, other substances too. And while I could get into recycled rolling papers and filter-less options, perhaps even look into carbon-offsetting it, I think it’s best to just swear off smoking anything for the next little while.

Photo inhaled from Shannon C. on Flickr

No steaks on a plane (Day 80)…

May 19, 2007

Recently, I confessed to booking a somewhat elaborate summer vacation that requires a fair amount of air travel (which I’ve at least offset with TerraPass). On the plus side, I made sure to take one big chunk of time off work, so for the most part the flights will be short-haul; on the down side, due to scheduling conflicts, it also means taking a lot of connecting flights (and by “a lot” I mean … um… *cough* nine).

As I’ve already committed to eating meat sparingly — and, when I do, it has to be free-range, organic and/or grass-fed — this means I’d have to pick apart all my in-flight meals, being careful not to get genetically modified pork residue on the peas.

But the reality is, whether or not I eat the meat on my plate (or rather plastic tray), it doesn’t make a difference by that point; the demand for it is created as soon as I book my ticket.

Fortunately, this greenie plans ahead. I requested that all my in-flight meals be vegetarian or nothing at all. Most airlines these days are very accommodating — besides having veg options, they usually offer kosher, low-cholesterol, gluten-free and even bland/ulcer meals.

Unfortunately, I can’t request that they leave out the plastic cutlery set or make sure that both the coffee and any chocolate in the dessert is fair-trade. But if the cutlery comes separately, I’ll pass it back (then again, if I can’t get my portable chopsticks past security, this could be a problem).

Jet-setting off-setter (Day 76)…

May 15, 2007


I just planned a whirlwind summer vacation (in airport code: YYZLHRTLVMADPDXYYZ), which unfortunately means a series of flights that add up to 17,270 miles, 349 gallons of fuel and 6,828 pounds of carbon dioxide. So to balance out my three tonnes of guilt, I registered at TerraPass and offset all my air travel. Surprisingly, it only cost $36.95, and they even gave me a nerdy eco-traveller luggage tag to boot.

Now, offsets are a little controversial: Critics liken them to the medieval church selling indulgences to absolve sinners; but in the end, most environmentalists agree that they’re worth investing in after you’ve made every other effort to reduce your air and car travel, as well as energy consumption at home, in your dorm room or at your wedding(s).

While it’s true that I could have chosen to stay at home this summer, the reality is that it’s just not the same trying to celebrate your aunt’s 50th birthday party over the phone, hug one of your dearest friends by email, or go on a permaculture cycling trip down the coast of … Lake Ontario.

My green change as of today, then, is to only fly when necessary, to plan all my flights strategically, to spread the word with my nerdy luggage tag and, of course, to offset all my air travel.

Graphics nicked from TerraPass