Many people think that trying to tread lightly on the earth is too much trouble.
But, mostly, it’s easy and sometimes returns immediate positive benefits. Consider the following examples.
Each morning I go for a walk on Federation Hill, where I look down on several flat-roofed houses.
The only people who can see the roofs are those who walk on the hill. The amazing thing is that most of those roofs are black metal.
In contrast to pale roofs, the black ones lead to the use of more air-conditioning in the summer and hence more power consumption.
Why not have a pale roof, especially when very few people ever see it? Treading lightly in this case costs nothing and returns a long-term gain in lower power bills and lower emissions.
Bottled water is another example of how living lightly can provide a financial return. Many people buy 600 mL bottles of water, sometimes up to $3.30 per bottle.
If they filled the same bottle with water from home, it would cost between 1000 and 5000 times less. That is a reasonable saving.
If this happened every day, the saving over a year could reach $1200. On top of that, there would be less plastic used and of course fewer emissions.
It amuses me that people will visit a service station and pay two or three times as much for water as they pay for fuel. And yet, it would cost hundreds of times more money to produce fuel than to bottle water.
I have seen comparisons between the quality of bottled and tap water. I think they have all shown that bottled water was no better than tap water
Finally, living lightly demands that we take food miles (or kilometres) into account.
That means avoiding grapes and oranges from California and other foods that have been transported halfway around the world (often by air).
Avoiding such foods will not only save all the energy used in transportation but will benefit local producers.
The truth is, living lightly is not that difficult.