On clearing the air, choice: Humankind’s most powerful tool

So, who isn’t familiar with the expression freedom of choice? Or, its close relative: The freedom to choose? Or another: It’s all about choice? Or yet another: The choice is (y)ours? Choice or the ability to choose is humankind’s most powerful tool. That’s a very profound construct! And something no one should take for granted – ever!

When it comes to clearing or cleaning or cleansing the air, the thing that amazes me most is the power that we humans have to take on much of that work all by ourselves. Of course, it always helps to have a wide array of folks organize and coalesce to further this particular cause, if but for the belief in the premise of their being strength in numbers.

All well and good when that is what the situation is.

But if we are going to win the war against the adversary known as bad or dirty or polluted or toxic air, what it means is that the assault strategy is to attack the problem on a number of fronts. And, that includes taking mitigation measures into our own hands.

So, I look at my own lifestyle.

I would love nothing more than for the place where I live to embrace comprehensive and varied public mass transit. If this were the case, all citizens would be afforded a means to get anywhere in town cheaply, dependably, efficiently, environmentally-soundly and more safely than what the situation is presently.

Given, though, this isn’t yet the reality, and in this regard Fresno still has a ways to go to get there, I know that if I am going to be out and about in the ULEV or ultra-low-emissions vehicle that I drive, the more errands that I am able to get done in a single outing, the better it is for air and, consequently, for all who draw their very breaths from as a means to survive. That’s a decision of my choosing and there’s nothing really tricky about it.

The same for yard work. Not only will I wait until the air is cleaner and the outside temperature cooler, but I mow with a mower that emits no pollutants of its own (it’s a rechargeable electric), my cleaning up afterwards with a much air-friendlier dustpan and broom. I absolutely refuse to use a blower. Here again, my choice, my preference and my decision to go this route was not the least bit difficult for me to make.

When it comes to operating home appliances that draw a considerable amount of grid-supplied electricity and/or piped-in natural gas, I opt to run the dishwasher and clothes-washer and clothes-dryer during the time of lowest energy demand which is in the morning, typically. And, sometimes depending on time of year, I won’t even use the dryer at all or, if I do, I will run it very minimally so as to get the wrinkles out of the clothes and hang clothes on freestanding clothes racks in various places around the house, depending. By doing this, it saves energy, money and air. And, it should as well be noted that I refuse to use my fireplace.

As this may relate, at times when temperatures are colder I keep the heat down if not turn the system off completely, and just add extra layers of clothing. Once more, nothing complicated about it.

If there is anything difficult here it would possibly be overcoming the initial inertia in terms of choosing to live the lifestyle I’ve chosen. But once I made the changes, I was glad that I did.

Now if only myriad others did similarly.

Image above: AndrewHorne

– Alan Kandel

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