Want to be green? Really green? Then don’t buy green products. In fact, don’t buy anything. Be like the early New Englanders, whose maxim was: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
Do you really need another organic cotton T-shirt? I don’t. Most of my apparel is at least 25 years old. It’s well-made, high-quality clothing. I don’t need to replace it. I did, however, come upon a great way to refresh my wardrobe without adding to my carbon footprint. I went to the Garment District and found some cool vintage clothing. When I returned home, I picked out some items I didn’t enjoy wearing and brought them back to the store, where they accept free donations. (They also buy used clothing, by appointment only.)
Yes. It’s true. I finally went on vacation after eight years. The last time I was absent from Tech Networks for an entire week was when all eight digits changed on the Gregorian calendar. (In 1999, I spent New Year’s Eve on a barge floating on the Seine.) Despite all my subsequent vacation fantasies over the next eight years, the vacation I chose was fairly prosaic. I didn’t join a Worldwatch expedition to count seals in the Arctic, or voyage to Costa Rica to build efficient wood-burning stoves for cocoa farmers. Instead, Dave and I kept our carbon footprint low by spending our vacation at a B&B with our two pugs in Newport, Rhode Island. In sum total, we used one tank of gas.
The B&B is called the Chestnut Inn, but it’s really just the first floor of a standard, turn-of-the-century two-family house. One of the two most important attractions of this establishment is that it allows dogs. But the other is the 90-year-old proprietress of the Inn, Eileen Nimmo. Eileen is funny, loves people, reads books, and is a terrific businesswoman. She bought her first house right after World War II, and went on to acquire 15 others. She will readily confide in you that she doesn’t even need the money from the B&B but she likes the company.
Dave and I spent the vacation touring historic Newport, picnicking in state parks, and chatting with Eileen on her front porch. Although I brought some of my usual global warming books, I eschewed them in favor of Brideshead Revisited.
I was guilty of spending a couple of hours each day catching up on my email, which is how I know that things went well in my absence. Every team seemed to be working well, lines of communication were open, and much was accomplished. I am sure that it won’t be very long before I take my next vacation. After all, the company still owes me about 180 days paid time off!