I'll admit it. I went on a binge over the holidays.
Despite trying to lower my consumption of all and everything, I spent money that I was saving and took a plane(oh disastrous hole in the ozone- but I live on an island) back to DC to visit family.
OK -- it was priceless to hold the new infant gurgling in my arms, and I am not sure what I was saving the money for, if not for him -- but still I binged. I went to bookstores. I bought in a frenzy. I bought an IPOD shuffle since the 16 assured me that he would help me figure it out- as indeed he did. I ate -- for we have a fine chef in the family-- Salmon from Alaska, chocolate from Switzerland (more holes in the ozone).
I drove aimlessly (well, ok, I let the 16 year old with the learners permit drive for the practice but it was, on my part, an old indulgence - just burn those fossil fuels aimlessly while listening to the car stereo, using the heat, enjoying the scenery).
I am now glad to return to my less-than-first world consumption footprint.
For three years, I have washed all my dishes in cold water, with never an ill effect.
The only hot water in my apartment is from a little in-line heater on the shower. It is welcome on rainy and cold (a relative thing - it is probably around 70 degrees but it feels like 40 from the rain and I am now tolerant of 90) morning.
I can walk to everything I need - the little supermarket, the meditation center, the English library, the sea, the (OK - here comes the big luxury) big swimming pool at the gym club.
I pay (overpay by local standards) someone to do my laundry- primarily by hand although she takes the sheets and towels back to her home machine.
If I go out of district, I take a bus or one of the private cabs that ply Santo Domingo for about $5 a rid, or on one of the long distance buses.
It took some drastic measures for me to reduce consumption. I live in a furnished apartment which eliminates the temptation to do the really big things -- the fridge here is still avocado color which gives you an idea of its vintage- the stove rocks when you touch it - which tells you how much metal is in it.
But I don't recycle- except the few bottles which have deposits on them. My food often comes packed in styrofoam for the fresh veggies and fruit as I am too lazy to walk to the local
It feels better.
But that lure of consumption-- wow--- that is powerful.