Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snow Days & New Year's Resolutions

I'm snowed in. There's about 2.5 feet of the white stuff packed against my garage door, with more falling and the wind whipping furiously against my many windows and through the trees behind my home. The way my home is situated on my lot, all the drift is against the front of the house - front door and garage, but the back door is nearly clear, so Lucy and Simon can frolic, and they look adorable, double-sweatered, noses covered with the powdery stuff.   Yes, I double-sweatered them.  Please.  I'm a Jewish mother.  If I'm cold, so are you.  Don't argue.  (Re-read that with a Jewish grandmother accent.  Did I sound convincing? )  At any rate, it's 20 degrees outside.  They're staying double-sweatered.

Right about now, I wish I had snow shoes (and knew how to use them). My yard adjoins an agricultural field, and I enjoy a windbreak of trees along the property line. Bare trees against the pristine white snow and the grey-white skies is a beautiful site. I hit the grocery store for soup supplies and other goodies when the weather folk predicted the blizzard, and so I'm set for weeks! If the electricity goes off, I have logs for the fireplace, and candles. The homeowners' association folks will see to my sidewalks and drive after the Christmas holiday is past, but for now, being snowed in appeals to me - at least for a few days of peace and quiet. With Internet and phone to stay connected to the outside world, and puppies for entertainment... it's all good.

A sweet things happened after the snows began.  I received a note from a complete stranger - Tana - in Eagle River, Alaska.  I don't know if you've run across a website sponsored by Popular Front, called "Snow Days."  The site lets you "cut" virtual snowflakes out of virtual paper, using virtual scizzors, attach a message to them if you'd like, and then send them off into a virtual sky to fall. When you see one you like, you can "respond" to it by attaching your own message, which is emailed back to the flake creator. I sent out a message that simply said, "holed up in my home stranded, a few feet of snow in front of my garage door," and received condolences from a woman named Tana in Alaska!  

I admit to a bit of addiction to cutting snowflakes.  There's a link in the right margin if you want to go play! By the way, I capture all these screen shots with a program called Jing. It's free at Click on any of the pics below for a bigger, better visual.

Now, on to a great New Year's resolution idea:

Today, a something called Ecofx (eco fix) showed up on my facebook wall. Did I "join" an Ecofx fb page? Who knows. I don't recall. But it was touting a website with a mission: calculate the carbon footprint of everything you buy, before you buy it, to help you make a decision about whether you really want to make the purchase. In a way, it's like knowing the calories of your diet, knowing you don't want to eat more than, say, 1500 a day on your diet, and weighing food choices based on their caloric values. (I know many of us are counting carbs or fat grams or glycemic loads these days and not calories. It's just an illustration, guys. Let me off the hook.)

Here's my suggestion for a great New Year's resolution.  Choose a carbon footprint calculator and calculate your estimated carbon footprint.  Then set a goal, like reducing your carbon footprint ten percent in 2010.  Figure out how many carbs a month you'll need to reduce your consumption by in order to accomplish that goal.  Now, over the coming year, use the Ecofx calculator to help make decisions to achieve your personal goal. 

Here are some personal footprint calculators to consider using:


The Nature Conservancy:

And finally, here's a total ecological footprint calculator (which considers impacts on the environment beyond greenhouse gas emissions):

I'm going to do this too.  The last time I did one, I was living much more simply in Arizona, in a no-furnishings home!  So I'm sure my damage has increased.  I promise to come back around New Years with my updated footprint information, and try my own advice.  I hope you'll consider making this your New Year's resolution too.

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