So I hinted at another twist in this Greenest Month endeavor. You see, for a couple of reasons, I've got a good head start on this thing. First: I live in New York City, and as David Owen's article Green Manhattan from the New Yorker last spring pointed out, NYC is one of the most energy efficient places in the world. Nowhere on earth are resources and energy so cozily shared. Thus New Yorkers, as a largely unconscious mass, are amongst the "greenest" beings in the country.
Second: I work, at least part time, in a solar-powered building. So while most of these entries will first be handwritten on (scrap) paper under the soft glow of my compact fluorescent desk lamp (lit by wind farms in Fenner, New York, where I've purchased our apartment's electricity), they'll be dutifully punched into a computer that's being powered by nothing but the sun's rays. After punching out my timecard, of course. (Fear not, Solar One fulltime staff, I'm not taking you for a ride.)These two significant advantages do beg the question-would it then be possible for someone consciously attempting to live as low-impact a life as possible, and with such a formidable head start on the green masses, to be for one month the greenest person in New York City? In the country? In the world? Of course not (at least to the latter bit). Surely there are plenty of individuals, even communities, that have a totally negligible impact on the local and global environment. Many are of indigenous groups in various undeveloped lands with little or no electrical demands and a long-established practice for the production and collection of food that's executed on an ultra-local level, whose carbon footprints are smaller than Cinderella's glass slipper. (Apologies for the stretched metaphor-I still have George Mason's tourney run on the brain.) So while there's no doubt that my impact will be larger than many out there, my unique circumstances of super-efficient urban setting and fortuitous place of employment do get you thinking. Where can my "greenest" month rank amongst the "greenest" lives lived around the world. Will probably be tough to accurately appraise, but an interesting query nonetheless.
Up Next: Ground Rules And Guidelines
Previously: Welcome To The Greenest Month
Ben Jervey is the author of The Big Green Apple
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