Minimizing my Carbon Footprint

Settling back into the routine after spring break is a challenge because the outdoors calls to me, not gently on a wafting breeze, but rather in that “Skip class.  GPA, who cares? You only live once,” sort of way.

If it has been a while since you were in school, kindly allow me to refresh your memory.  This is the day when the weather is barely right for wearing shorts.  By afternoon, what few layers of additional clothing you donned in the morning have since been shed.  And a scant few people, on lunch break, have made their way to the grassy areas to throw a Frisbee.  Within minutes, they have muddied their formerly pristine Chucks, sinking them in the soft thawed, lumpy patches of ground not yet fit for such sport.

Your mind cannot help but drift, no matter how compelling the lecture, or how greatly impacted your future might be by probability, statistics or the inherent importance of the Shakespearean sonnet to today’s literary geniuses.  You imagine yourself anywhere else except there, allowing the sun to warm your skin and the frequent breezes to chill it again.  Allergy sufferers’ eyes water, noses run and have sneezing fits, yet today, they are happy.

Mini-Daffies beside glass RR insulator pole cap

Tomorrow I celebrate my 50th vernal equinox—without a doubt my favorite of the two.  The weather has been GOR-GEEE-US and my mini-daffodils, all of 2” high, are in full bloom.  My gardens are coming to life, weeds first naturally, and today especially, I recognize the importance of (as the politically correct say) “minimizing my carbon footprint.” Or as grandmother used to say, “For heaven sakes, save some for someone else!”

The difficulty is in the execution.  I rush off to school, grab my bottle of water, an individually packaged granola bar, two bags of books, the usual supplies and essentials, roughly 50 pounds in all.  No public transportation is available, and once again this semester, no one I know lives along the route or commutes when I do.  The commute takes about an hour.

Upon arrival, I can recycle my water bottle, lessening my burden by its weight.  For the balance of the day, I walk from one point to another around campus, stopping periodically to offload a few books into my car.  Lunch, footprint-wise, leaves me two choices: Styrofoam or plastic wrap for the main course and paper or plastic for my drink.  The answer appears obvious right?  Pack your lunch.

That requires a third bag, which itself is nearly weightless, but add a freezer block and food, then it’s more to carry or yet another trip to the car.  I don’t mind the walk.  I can use the exercise.  But after it stagnates for the afternoon in the car, it will take 5 gallons of water to get the smell off of the plastic ware.  Perhaps edible packaging would do the trick.  Well—that and a train to take me home at the end of the day.

Happy Spring !


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