Following up further on Ed Graef’s excellent letter to the editor of the High Country News:
At least one “liberal environmental” household (mine) has altered its lifestyle out of concern for global warming. For example, we use public transit and use less than half the electricity of the average U.S. household due to our clothesline, CFL lightbulbs and low hot water use. The list goes on, but the fact that I wash my hair in cold water speaks to not every liberal being a hypocrite. Thor calls me Alison the Iceslayer.
For all that, I’m afraid that Mr. Graef is 98% correct. Even among the many professionals I know who work in sustainability, only one couple refrains from taking airplane flights due to their enormous carbon footprint. (That is Jeanne and Dick Roy, who founded the Northwest Earth Institute). It’s true that the very liberals who literally know better still feel unthinkingly entitled to travel without limits. I feel clear that needs to change, and I’m happy to see a conservative speaking out on that.
Mr. Graef’s challenge to reduce consumption, though, should be directed at everyone, not just liberals. He is assuming that lifestyle leadership and intellectual leadership should necessarily come from the same people. If liberals like Al Gore have excelled at the latter, why couldn’t some conservatives excel at the former, setting ideology aside? We need all the leadership we can get, from all quarters.
And I am personally relinquishing any notion of international travel in 2008, and possibly beyond. I don’t have to stop at slaying ice when I wash my hair :).