In lower school, my science teacher gave me a copy of the National Wildlife Federation's kid's magazine Ranger Rick. It was the coolest with pictures of baby koala bears, gross facts about spiders, and "How to Save the Planet" guides. Inspired, I got to work sorting paper and plastic, cutting up those aves-strangling six-pack rings, and trying to convince my father that a large compost pile in our living room wouldn't attract vermin.
Now that I've gotten older, however, I'm finding it harder and harder to remain energetic and idealistic when it comes to environmental initiatives. It's not that I don't want to put in the effort, but when the day gets going, I'm running late, and my assignment should have been in yesterday, packing the Tupperware for a waste-free lunch is a peripheral pipe dream.
I've started to wonder, is environmentalism only for the noble, the disciplined, the wealthy and highly organized? Is there hope for someone like me, who wants to "do good" but can't quite get it together? Perhaps by divine environmental intervention, I've come across a new book, The Lazy Environmentalist: Your Guide to Easy Stylish Green Living, by self-proclaimed lazy environmentalist, Josh Dorfman.
I call Josh the "bad boy of sustainability." Imagine him as a modern-day Robin Hood, riding into town on his hybrid scooter, living on the edge --but living green-- and all the while, making it look so easy. Josh's book outlines simple ways we can sit back and relax as eco-conscious design and modern technology take care of our carbon footprint. The book is a list of innovations from a basic plumbing system that channels used sink water to flush your toilet to a sleek, plug-and-play, wind turbine for any rooftop or balcony. I finally caught up with Josh (he was busy being lazy) and asked him a few questions about his book and the green movement:
Olivia: Josh, let's start out with an easy one . . . why did you write The Lazy Environmentalist: Guide to Easy, Stylish, Green Living?
Josh: The most exciting innovation happening today across most industries is green-related. I wanted to help consumers understand just how stylish and convenient green living has become.
Olivia: If HuffingtonPost readers could only follow three suggestions from your book what would they be? In other words, what three things do we need to start doing NOW?
Josh: First, just about everyone can switch to clean green energy. These days it only takes a few mouse clicks on your power utility's website and then it's done.
Second, start thinking about greening your transportation. Whether it's hybrid cars, hybrid SUVs, or clean diesel sedans, there are plenty of performance-driven options that will save you money at the pump and reduce your car's carbon emissions. Or consider opting for a design-driven alternative to cars like Vespa motor scooters that get close to 70 miles per gallon -- better fuel mileage than even the most fuel efficient hybrid cars. Chicks will still dig you. I think. I'm about to get mine so I'll find out.
Lastly, take care of your toilet. We use more water to flush our toilets than anything else we do. Fortunately for lazy environmentalists the mantra "If it's brown flush it down, if it's yellow let it mellow" is completely last century. Now you can just flush it down. Period. That is if you're using a dual flush toilet or hooking up an Aqus Toilet System from Water Saver Technologies that channels the used water from your bathroom sink to your toilet tank so you can flush your toilet with recycled water instead of fresh water. These kinds of systems can save close to 7,000 gallons of water per year per bathroom, are very affordable, and even pay for themselves in just a few years through savings on utility bills. Best part is that once it's set up you just keep flushing like normal only now you're a hero of the planet.
Olivia: Wow, who knew that flushing the toilet could be so rewarding? On the other end of the spectrum, what are the worst things we're probably doing right now? Is it driving an SUV, leaving the lights on, not unplugging our cell phone charger?
Josh: Leaving our lights on is pretty lame. It costs us money and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. That's why I like lighting motion sensors. Lazy environmentalists can benefit from this kind automated eco assistance, and you can find them at just about any local hardware store.
I think asking people to unplug their cell phone chargers is a joke. We are the culture of convenience and couch potatoes. Let's be honest, who is really going to get off their couch to unplug their charger? I'm not. But next time I'm buying a flat screen TV I'd definitely buy a Sharp Aquos model which is one of the highest rated for both picture quality and energy efficiency and is made in a factory in Japan that draws a third of its energy from solar power. Flat screen TV's guzzle energy because of the technology used for their screens. If you really want to do some good for the planet get an energy efficient model.
Olivia: Now, what's your worst green vice?
Josh: Long, hot showers and frigid cold nights with the A/C blasting. There's two.
Olivia: Hmmm, sounds like TMI. Thanks Josh, we'll check in with your lazy ways again. For now, I'm definitely considering the lighting motion sensors . . . I have a bit of problem with leaving the lights on (see my parent's electric bill).