Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Red Burn Week; Environmental Trade-Offs

It looks like Cache Valley will be in Red Burn status for the rest of the week. We've been asked to cut our driving in half, so here's what I did:

On Tuesdays, we usually make two trips up to the school-- one to drive the morning carpool, and one for music lessons. I took the morning carpool on the bus. I did drive out to pick up Sonshine at preschool, though, but I did not go to the store. Today, Wednesday, I am taking the carpool on the bus again, because I need to make a trip up to North Logan for the Girl Scout meeting (cookie sales start on Saturday and I'm the troop cookie manager). I will do some shopping on the way home, and I'll take Sonshine downtown on the bus this morning before our weekly trip to the library (God help you if you miss Library Day in this household...) Thursday morning I will drive up to the school because Princess has music lessons before school and we'd have to get up insanely early to ride the bus there, but I've arranged for the carpool kids to come home on the bus that day. I didn't want Princess coming home by herself on the bus, but if she's with the older kids who can help her cross the busy street safely, I think she can handle it. Friday we will probably take the bus morning and afternoon. With all the exercise I'll be getting this week, and being away from the fridge at snack time, maybe I'll lose some weight!

The kids are excited about all this travel on the bus. For kids, taking the bus is a step up in the world from having to ride in your mother's minivan. Favorite Husband was a little apprehensive about letting Princess ride the bus with the older kids, noting that he was not allowed to ride the bus by himself until he was in Junior High. I reminded Favorite Husband that he grew up in Los Angeles. I used to ride the bus (in a rural town like Logan) by myself with my little sister when I was Princess' age. The bus drivers here know Princess and know where she gets off.

Helping preserve the air quality, though, does have its trade-offs. For one thing, the long stretches away from the dirty diaper pail mean that Bagel has to be put in disposables instead of cloth diapers. With all the stuff I have to carry, I don't want to also carry around a dirty diaper. Also a diaper change could well be needed when we are more than an hour away from being home. If we're driving home I will change him out of his cloth diaper when we get home because it's only a matter of minutes, but I won't let him sit in a dirty diaper for a whole extra hour while we ride the bus all over town. Anyway, that's a few more diapers for the landfill.

The diaper/bus trade-off got me thinking about other environmental trade-offs. Paperless communications like e-mail mean more electricity needs to be generated, and this means pollution of one sort or another. Even if we get our power from solar or wind, there still remains the by-products of manufacturing the solar panels or wind turbines. Etc. etc., I'm sure all my readers have thought about this at one point or another, so I don't feel the need to elaborate.