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May 17, 2007
Most of our lamps and fixtures now sport those weird-looking new lightbulbs, basically fluorescent tubes shaped into a spiral so they don't take up so much space. They last for years, and use a fraction of the energy an incandescent bulbs consumes. It is true that I don't care for the color of their light -- I am a great fan of that golden incandescent glow. But you don't need a golden glow in the basement or at your desk or in the pantry -- all you need to do is see.

We've turned off the drying function on the dishwasher. They can drip dry in there until we need them. We're reducing our use of paper towels by using cloth ones. I'm taking more showers than baths, saving those lovely soaks for special occasions. We're much more assiduous about recycling office paper and paper packaging, and have hardly any in our trash can. We're going to put up a clothesline outside. New Jersey has a very good tax deal on solar panels, so we're going to look into them.

What is good about all this is that these are things people can do. Not things the government or enormous corporations should do, but us. All those enormous entities should get to work, too, and a surprising number of them are doing so, but enough of us need to begin making this a part of everyday life that it stays in the front of our minds. If it's in the front of our minds it'll be in the front of theirs, too, since they want something we have: our votes, our money, both.

We need to become accustomed to doing things again. Not to watching things on the television, but doing things. Not to buying things, but doing things. Feeling, again, the pride one has in thrift, the thrill of having saved something, of making something from scratch. Enormous industries have been built upon our feeling of incompetence, as if making a cake were so difficult that we had no choice any longer but to buy a cake mix full of additives in a box. Making a cake is easy. So is hanging a shirt out to dry. So is taking a train, if you're lucky enough to live where trains run. Anybody can do these things, and all of us could begin doing some of them again.

Be fruitful, God said, before saying anything else about how we should or should not behave. Create. Generate things. Care for what you have so it lasts a long time. Don't be a consumer only -- be fruitful. Replace what you've taken, so it will be there tomorrow.
Copyright © 2022 Barbara Crafton
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