[ Guiding Principles]
“Women must see that there can be no liberation for them and no solution to the ecological crisis within a society whose fundamental model of relationships continues to be one of domination. They must unite the demands of the women’s movement with those of the ecological movement to envision a radical reshaping of the basic socioeconomic relations and the underlying values of this society.” –Rosemary Radford Ruether, New Woman/New Earth
We believe that what we eat, drive, consume, purchase, and waste says something about what we value. Stemming from an ecofeminist ethic, we seek to live as sustainably as possible.
Because we value all life, we refuse to take the life of animals in order to eat or have clothing or furniture. For us, flesh is not food or clothing. Further, the mass production of meat and dairy harms not only animals, but also workers, the environment, and consumers. We celebrate eating delicious, mouth-watering, nourishing, protein-rich, plant-based foods that are healthy for our bodies and the environment. We also acknowledge that our choice to be vegan comes with much privilege; many are not afforded the luxury of making such a choice due to access, time, finances, location, etc. Since we do have access and choice, we feel that the most ethical and sustainable choice we can make is to be vegan.
Reducing Our Carbon Footprint
We currently use a lot of energy! Though we have taken some small steps to reduce our environmental impact, we hope to take much larger steps this year. We were interested in about how much energy we use day-to-day, so we did a rough estimate.
Current Energy Usage
Gasoline: Between driving to work and visiting family, we drive well over 10,000 miles a year. Since we will be traveling for a year, we worried that we would drive even more! However, we have estimated our itinerary, and it looks like we will be driving around 8500 miles next year. That’s still a lot; we hope to offset this by cutting back in other areas.
Water: We try to conserve water, but a quick estimation reveals that we use A LOT! Let’s take a closer look:
– Toilet: We “let it mellow” at home, but we still flush quite a bit. As two adults, between about 3 daily flushes at home and multiple flushes at work, we flush about 12 times a day. Each flush is roughly 1.6 gallons. That’s at least 19 gallons a day!
– Shower: We each shower an average of 6 times a week, plus a bath twice a week for the baby. The shower flows at about 3 gallons per minute, and we take 5-7 minute showers, depending on how long it takes for the water to heat up. That’s about 36 gallons a day for two showers and 216 gallons a week! Add about 20 gallons for each bath, and we’re over 250 gallons a week!
– Dishwasher: We run the dishwasher every 5 days at about 6 gallons per load.
– Clothes washer. We wash clothes once a week and diapers every 5 days. We have an older top-loading machine that uses about 40 gallons per load.
Home Utilities: According to reports from our gas and electric companies, we are a “green” home. We’re not so sure! Though we try to conserve, we have many appliances plugged in, enjoy hot showers, turn on lights when we need them, and keep the house a comfortable temperature (63-64 in winter and 74-76 in summer).
Projected energy usage for the year of adventure
Gasoline: We will probably use roughly the same amount of gasoline as we do currently.
Water: We hope to drastically reduce our water consumption. Many of the places we will be staying have vault or composting toilets, which means no flushing. We hope to install a composting toilet in the camper as well. We will be showering less frequently because we will have limited access to water. We estimate that we will shower an average of twice a week. We will be washing clothes and dishes much less frequently (we have not decided what to do about diapers).
Home Utilities: In some places, we will not have electric or gas hookups! When we do have access, we will use much less energy in the camper than in our house. We also hope to install solar panels on the camper.
Though we will still be “on the grid” for most of next year, we are confident that we will see a significant decrease in our overall energy usage.