Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is my "standard of living"?

While walking to ABC to fill up a growler yesterday, I ran into my wonderful friend Matt (who is chairing a committee that is developing greenhouse gas emissions standards for international aviation). He asked my how my project has been going, and asked whether or not my "standard of living" (however you define it) has changed. To me, the phrase "standard of living" is as subjective as terms like "environmentalism," "sustainable," "equality," etc. Anyway, you be the judge...

1) I know better than ever before where my food comes from, although I would like to know more.
2) All of my food is fresh. I have been eating as healthily as I was before I started this adventure. I feel great.
3) I am more aware of my surroundings, and more aware of simple things that will leave behind trash that will fill landfills for thousands of years (before people decide to start mining landfills, I guess). I am happy to know I am reducing my contribution to this.
4) This project has piqued the interest of many friends and family members of mine, as well as strangers, and has made them more aware. I have already had great discussions with them.
5) I have continued to enjoy an active social life without generating active as before.
6) I have become more confident.

1 comment:

  1. Darshan, you know I love your project and find it both fascinating and challenging for me to think about all of the different dimensions of trash. I had a thought today while drinking tea and working at Intelligentsia. How do you account/control for trash generated by dining out or even getting a cup of coffee in a mug? Every business we patronize creates trash directly, meaning we are creating trash indirectly by even buying things like food and drinks. This gets me back to my original contention that it's impossible to live 100 percent trash-free and not become a social outcast. And if you start thinking about the life cycle analysis of everything you consume (even bulk food products), the equation gets even tougher.

    On a completely different note, how do you reconcile the waste created in the process of doing your work in the lab? I know you're not including lab trash in the experiment, but it returns to the question of maintaining a normal life and living trash free. Can one work trash free?

    Just some food for thought. I love reading these blog posts, so keep the insights coming!