Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

The EcoJustice Challenge


Today, as many bloggers have noted, is Earth Day. I have been guiltily noticing some of the bad things I do, including the environmentally not-friendly practice of driving to the gym in order to run on the treadmill. Bad Charlotte.

Then I chanced upon Emily’s EcoJustice Challenge, launched today! It’s a challenge that hopes to get us to change bad habits like the one mentioned above. I quote verbatim:

So, here is how this challenge will work. The first step is for anyone who wants to participate to pass the link onto at least five other people (or even if you don’t plan to participate, if you like the idea, please pass it on). If you have a blog of your own, this can easily be accomplished merely by linking to this site in a post on your own blog. Below is a list of things you can choose to do. Once every quarter between now and April 21, 2009, I will add to this list. Your challenge is to choose something from this list, to experiment with it, and to post about it here. Or, if you’d rather not post, that’s fine. You can just choose what you want and leave comments on this blog. You can choose to implement as many or as few from the list as you would like. You can choose to stick with one (or more) for an entire quarter, or you can mix and match (one — or more — this month, a different one next month, etc.). My hope is that by the end of the year, at least one item from the whole list will have become a way of life for you and your family. And if you’re already doing some or all of these things, come up with others you want to do, share them with us, and post on them instead.

To join the blog as a posting member, please send an email to: ecojustice08 AT gmail DOT com with your user name and the email address you’d like to use for the purposes of this blog. I will add you to the list of users. Also, please post on your own blog, if you have one. That’s it. And now, here are your choices for this quarter:

1. Choose one day a week in which you will not use your car at all (barring a major emergency, like having to drive your spouse/child to the hospital for stitches). Before you immediately dismiss this one, because you have to drive to and from work every day, please think about it. Is there no one with whom you could carpool two days a week? If so, the day you’re not driving would be the perfect day not to use your car at all.

2. Choose one “black out night” per week. All lights and all electrical appliances are off by 7:30 p.m. and don’t go on again until the next morning. What will you do without lights, television, your computer? Well, the weather’s getting nice where many of us live. Sit out on the porch/deck and tell stories. Read by candle light. Write letters by candle light. Play games by candle light. You know, people did this sort of thing for thousands of years. My guess is that if you have kids, this will be an exciting and fun challenge for them.

3. Choose two days a week in which you are only going to eat organic and/or locally-grown food. Do you know that inorganic farming is one of the best examples of evolution that we’ve got going these days? All the pesticides that have been used to grow our food have helped to create “super bugs” who are becoming more and more resistant to our chemicals. We’re definitely losing this battle in more ways than one. Talk to the people at your local farmer’s markets. Many of them are growing their food organically anyway; they just aren’t certified, because it’s a difficult and expensive process to be so. Buying locally, of course, cuts down on the oil used to transport food long distances.

4. If you need to go anywhere that’s within a 2-mile round trip radius of your home, walk or bike. Where might this be? The first place that springs to mind for me is your children’s school bus stop. Perhaps the post office is close to your home. The library? For me, it’s both the post office and the bank. If you’re super lucky, maybe you have a farmer’s market that’s close by. Or maybe you don’t live close enough to anything, but you do work close by to that deli, say, where you always drive to pick up lunch.

5. Read that challenging book about the environment that you’ve been putting off reading, you know the one you don’t want to read, because it might make you a little uncomfortable (e.g. The World without Us, Diet for a Small Planet, Affluenza). Read it. Post about it. Maybe implement an idea or two based on what you’ve read.

6. Buy only those things sold in recyclable packaging and make sure you recycle that packaging.

Hooray for Emily. My plan for this quarter is to do 1 and 6. I will choose and commit to a non-driving day (and jog out from house rather than on a treadmill) once a week. Also, I plan to read and post about Affluenza and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, both of which I already own.

Please post about this, pass it on and commit to one or two of Emily’s challenges. Together, we can do it!

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

6 thoughts on “The EcoJustice Challenge

  1. Thanks so much, Charlotte! Can’t wait to read about your progress.

  2. Sounds a great idea!
    We already have involuntary two hour black outs three mornings a week at the moment courtesy of Eskom, it’s amazing how used to it we’re getting. At least when it’s regular we are prepared and it’s no problem. I guess we’re cheating though, cos my husband has cleverly wired up a truck battery to the UPS, so we can keep on working on the computers through the black out….
    I think we’d be much greener if we moved to a town – managing without a car during the week is impossible though often we don’t go out at all at the weekends – stay at home and cook huge meals so that our friends will visit us instead!
    I think I’ll have to choose 6 for now and rely on Eskom to supply 2.

  3. I meant 5, not 6. Our recycling facilities aren’t up to the challenge yet ..though I’m composting our cereal packets…

  4. I already do 1 and 4 – not much choice there! If organic fresh food was available here I would buy it – I already buy all organic tinned food. My biggest worry about our environmental footprint is the amount of rubbish we create. Most people in our apartment block don’t respect the recycling bins, I’ve seen actual dirty nappies being stuffed into them so I suspect when I recycle, I’m not really. I don’t know what on earth the council does with the mess. I’m hoping to address this issue when we move house.

  5. Hooray for Charl too! I like that list.. i think I probably manage alot of those things already, except the black out night, which sounds fun. Wasn’t diet for a small plant that really old book? I read that ages ago, and it if it still applies, it really is an eyeopener on the quantity of plant protein we stuff into our animals to get a fraction back out when we slaughter them. That made me an even smugger veggie, if that is possible… 😉 Had a discussion with ma-in-law last night about the lack of butterflies too, isn’t that in part also due to conventional farming..? That seems to me to be another reason to support organic farmers.

  6. World without Us is a FANTASTIC read btw….

    I’d like to try the black out. I could do it, but the husband couldn’t. (or the girls with their monster light…)

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