Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Personal impact

Friday, February 10th, 2006

FX is re-running Morgan Spurlock‘s excellent documentary series 30 Days (highly recommended — along with his movie Super Size Me), and in particular I was thinking about the episode “Off the Grid” as it relates to Sammy.

It’s amazing how much water I use to wash or heat his bottles, and because of his clothes (and how quickly he dirties them) we do a lot more laundry than we used to, and each day we go through a dozen diapers at least. We used to use a diaper service (Tiny Tots of Campbell) but we canceled it the other week because:

  • it was too expensive;
  • it was sometimes too messy compared to disposable diapers (spill issues, enough said); and
  • it was too hard for Sammy to sleep though the night after he wet his cloth diaper.

Two things I do miss about the service were the diaper fairies mysteriously leaving fresh clean diapers on my doorstep every week, and the fact that I wasn’t creating so much landfill. Just ten days ago I was at Costco buying a gigantic box of diapers, and we’re going through them at a scary rate.

I do worry about the enormous impact that an individual person has, in terms of resources consumed and waste generated.

In high school I remember there was some class with a special homework assignment: for one week, you could not throw out any kind of trash, except into a garbage bag that you personally carried around with you the entire week. The idea was to give you tangible feedback of how much trash you create and waste packaging you purchase. I think everyone cheated and threw stuff out “illegally” anyway but I couldn’t imagine carrying around Sammy’s weekly trash production (at least not without a gas mask).