Living Lightly in Dallas

by Samantha Shaddock

Peak Oil Hausfrau has published this list of ways to live lightly (i.e. reduce your household’s carbon emissions). As a renter, some of these ideas aren’t feasible for me — I’d love to have my way with the insulation in this house, xeriscape the lawn (particularly given Texas’ climate), plant more trees, etc., but that’s up to my landlord. However, plenty of these tips are applicable for everyone. My favorites:

  • Saving the “warm-up” water from your shower for watering plants
  • Buying in bulk to reduce packaging waste
  • Donating useful goods to charities rather than tossing them in the trash
  • Using shampoo, conditioner and makeup more sparingly
  • Wearing layers and using blankets and lowering the thermostat in the winter

While saving the planet is a worthy goal, it’s also important to note, as Patton does, that many of these changes also save money.

<RANT>Frankly, that’s the message I think environmental activists in Texas need to focus on. The average person here may very well resent consultants from Seattle or Portland waltzing into Dallas under the assumption that those cities are better than Dallas by virtue of being “green” — and that everyone here shares that assumption. Groups that support adding bike lanes and expanding the DART system would be better served by promoting the life- and money-saving benefits of alternative transportation. Commuting by train lessens wear and tear (and costly repairs) on your car, and it reduces your risk of being mowed down by a meth-crazed truck driver on LBJ. Riding your bike or walking to the grocery store lowers your monthly gasoline bill — and builds exercise into your day (read: you can cancel your expensive gym membership, and you could save on health expenses, too). Call me crazy, but I think Dallas residents are more apt to listen when money is at stake.  </RANT>

Anyway, I’d love to hear what steps you and your families are taking to live lightly in Dallas.


4 Responses to “Living Lightly in Dallas”

  1. It’s a tough sell, though. None of the places I’ve lived in DFW had metered water, and obviously nobody measures trash production. If half the people in my building took Navy showers and started recycling beer bottles, our waste and water bills would go down, but the cause-and-effect relationship wouldn’t be obvious.

  2. Totally with you on this. I think Dallas residents will be much more likely to do these things if they were told about the penny-pinching aspect. Never thought about buying in bulk for packaging reasons. I like that.


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