Tonight I received a call from my friend informing me her father had asked her for my number. He called to tell me of the cool environmentally conscious action he had taken. Apparently my friend has told him some of the things I do, and as the most eco-minded person he knew, he wanted to share with me. Well, that would have made my day in and of itself, but then he told me what he did. He used water from his dehumidifier to wash his clothes! I find this totally amazing because a) I've never heard of anyone doing it and b) it takes some effort to save water and add it at the right time (he used it for wash and the first rinse). Apparently this saves about 28 gallons of water, according to the calculations of his 6th grade class. So, my actions affected my friend, who influenced her parents to change their habits, who engaged 20 something 6th graders, some of whom probably told their parents, some of whom probably told the other parents at the soccer game "You'll never guess what my son told me about his crazy teacher this year..." That's a really large web of people stemming from a few conversations I had. Whenever you fear that you're not having an impact making such small changes, realize how rapidly that impact can grow and see that in fact you are personally causing an exponential ripple effect which is slowing eroding the cultural norms (yes that was 3 metaphors in one, but I'm confident you can figure it out).
In other (now much less exciting) news, yesterday was Christmas. My parents had been wanting to get me a GPS and decided to give it to me early since I was talking about my careful, yet not always entirely succesful, navigation of the Boston roads. Purchasing this device made me realize that there are in fact environmentally friendly technology developments. Yes, I absolutely could get directions to where I'm going, but I can't account for every possible wrong turn, or need to get gas, or other necessary detour. So, having a GPS allows me to find the quickest route where I'm going at any time, thus reducing my driving. It also will work while walking or biking, which I will be more likely to do instead of driving if I know I won't be getting lost as it grows dark. Plus, my device has an excellent feature which allows me to program in a certain speed (I chose 70 mph to start) and it will beep at me every time I pass this speed. So, I'm getting where I'm going the most efficient way possible, using the mode of transport with the least impact and I'm being reminded to drive in a way that will increase my gas mileage (which, by the way, was 39 mpg last tank, which is 10 mpg more than my rather large sedan normally gets!).
Finally, I had a fantastic weekend of resource free fun. My grandmother, mother and I sat down to organize 10 years of photos. We have gone digital, but the last photo album our family has is from '98. It was great to hang out, reminisce and be proactive in organizing everything so that we will be able to do this more often (and without quite so much "when on earth did we do that?").