Posted by: ithacaisdoomed | July 11, 2010

Live Free or Die Tryin’: the Ethical Challenge for the Ethically Challenged–June Update

In addition to my four categories, I’m also setting a goal in most categories as I am one of those types who needs to continually have a “firecracker put under my ass” so that I continue to do things…See the archives from May for an explanation of my reasoning behind each category in my ethical challenge.

Save something:  My new action in this category is totally based on something from Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man.  I became disgusted by the amount of energy it takes to dry my hands after washing them at work if I use the blow dryers. Also, the thought of truck loads of plastic trash bags full of compostable paper towels nauseated me.  So I’ve begun bringing my own cloth hand towel with me so that I can dry my hands in an angelic low impact manner.  Additionally, this makes me more efficient, because I can dry my hands while walking back to my cubicle, rather than having to wait with the blow dryer.  This might add like a full 10 minutes a day, because I wash my hands a lot!  My hands are angel soft because the towel is not so drying and rough as the hot air.  And we all know how important that is!

My new goal in this area is to start biking to work again.  Logistically, this is difficult, but between using the public bus and putting a bike rack on my wife’s car, I should be able to make it happen.  The Gulf of Mexico situation is spurring me to action.

Build Community:  I continue as “Secretary” on the Board of our home school cooperative.  I don’t know if this counts as “community building,” but I’ve started cleaning up trash whenever I go to one of our local swimming holes.  Sadly, it seems like wherever college students and/or rednecks go swimming, they tend to leave lots of trash behind.  The worst thing I’ve found was a wet disposable diaper.  Fortunately, it was not contaminated with fecal matter as the swimming hole in question forms part of Ithaca’s water supply.  I started keeping disposable gloves and plastic bags in my swimming hole bag for trash cleanup.  Normally, cleaning up trash left behind by pathetic losers brings out the hateful misanthrope in me.  I’m trying to make this into a spiritual exercise by realizing that the hateful thoughts don’t accomplish anything, but to poison my own mind and that by cleaning up the place, I’m serving a higher power, the stream, the swimming hole, nature, whatever you want to call it.  The idea is just to shut up the mind, and do it, rather than gabbling about it.

My goal in this area is to set up a neighborhood tool swap/library.  This is probably fairly long-term.

ReWild!:  A poor doe was killed in my yard, probably hit by a car.  I thought about saving the hide to make moccasins or something, but when it came to cutting up the carcass, I just couldn’t do it.  I should probably start smaller.  So I dragged her poor body out to the road for collection by the highway department.  Otherwise, I’m harvesting lots of “wild” tea herbs from the yard–St. John’s Wort, clover, yarrow.

My goal is to camp more, at least even in the yard.  I was realizing that it’s been over six years since I’ve set foot in a federally or NY state designated “wilderness area,” a place where “man is but a visitor.”  One of the ironies of “homesteading” is that you tend to get closer to wild nature on a micro rather than macro level, more Wendell Berry than John Muir which is all fine and good.  However, I should be spending some nights outside, even if it’s only in my own woods.  Since I have a six-year-old who is very excited by the idea, it is my fatherly duty.

Be prepared:  Food preservation is in full swing.  I bought a 20 pound bag of salt at Wegmans.  I just wish they had iodized salt in bulk.  I also bought a StoveTec Rocket Stove.  I cooked on it once and it was awesome.  I’ll write a full review after I try it with charcoal.

My goal is to inventory my pantry and to make sure everything is set as I restock during the “dog days” of summer.

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