Saturday, November 8, 2008

Some Green Thoughts

Awhile ago I got on a green kick and started keeping track of what I bought, where it was made, etc. I haven't been very good about keeping that up, which I regret. But the main goal was never to keep a log; it was to develop a habit, or maybe to change my way of thinking. Lots of times I feel like I'm trying to swim upstream. Our culture is very powerful.

I had a small but satisfying success today. As I've whined about on this blog before, my laptop is coming unhinged. Well, the power cord finally gave out a few days ago. The battery has been toast for some time, so no power cord, no laptop. No laptop, no internet. Life grinds to a halt. I jest, but there's more truth there than I'd like to admit.

Anyhow, I checked online (ironically enough) and the replacement part was going to be $65; and, not only that, but it would be a whole new part when only one little section of the cord was broken. [Incidentally, that was my goal for tracking my purchases: to have my buying decisions include questions like "how much waste am I creating?" and "who made this and under what conditions?" in addition to "how can I spend as little as possible?". Ultimately, I would like to be asking "how can I get the greatest use while causing the least human and environmental damage?". But I digress.]

After checking on a new part online, I remembered Craigslist. Surely someone has a perfectly good power cord just laying around in there basement. Good idea, but it was more frustrating than fruitful. And I'm up one useless power cord in the process. Finally I checked with Data Doctors, who were really helpful when Michelle was trying to get our "m" key fixed awhile back. They didn't have a used one either, but the owner explained how I could just replace the plug on the power cord. Which I did. And it works, so far. And it cost $3.22.

Wow. I think I might be the most boring guy in the world. I was eventually going to point you toward the RElectronics website, which I learned quite a bit from. To put this all in the context of my blog, for the last few years I've been wrestling with our culture's 'use it up, throw it out' mentality. The Story of Stuff really impacted my thinking on the subject. If you haven't already, you should check it out. And, if you know of other people or books or websites that are responding to this issue in new a different ways, I'd love to hear about them.

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