If I had wished for anything upon blowing out the candles on my birthday cake today, it would have been this: that everyone I know would do something significant in their lives to reduce their carbon footprint. I realize this sounds a bit idealistic, but I am nothing if not hopeful about humanity's ability to change the way we impact the earth.
Now, if I had a million dollars, I would certainly use it to help further this goal of making my family and friends more earth-friendly (after I bought a hybrid-biodiesel Mini Cooper Convertible). Fortunately, there are options besides me winning the lottery. Like this: the Federal Government wants to pay you to go green. Yes, I know, I find it unbelievable myself. But apparently, until December 31 of this year, the Feds will give you a consumer tax credit of up to $500 for purchasing such things as high-efficiency furnaces, water heaters, and insulation. And the tax credits for solar upgrades of up to $2000 will remain in place until December 31, 2008.
In addition to this, there are many other credits and incentives available through local and state governments that are just waiting to be found. And beyond doing things around your home, there are plenty of other ways to support a more environmentally sensitive lifestyle, like using alternative transportation, recycling, and generally trying to be more efficient. Joining positive organizations that support legislation in favor of environmental regulation isn't a bad idea either. However, be wary of what group you support. I actually got approached by someone trying to recruit me for Greenpeace today. I respect Greenpeace as an organization but I've never felt compelled to join it, for various reasons which include sometimes questionable tactics. What I found rather amusing was how the recruiter-dude went on and on about how we should boycott some company because they are clear-cutting forests for paper....then he offered me a piece of paper to sign up on, and pledge like $20 a month to the local group. When I told him I couldn't give that much and that I may just sign up online later, he said they didn't have an online sign-up form. Confused, I said, "So you're wasting paper with your sign-up sheets instead?" He never really came back from that, and I went back to studio.
So, those are my "green" thoughts for the day. Another year of trying to save the earth has passed, and I'm one step closer to a clearer perspective on what it means to design buildings that exist in harmony with the earth.
*10 points if anyone figures out where that line is from.