Frugality and how it can prevent catastrophic disruption of life on Earth
A few nights ago Mrs. T and I sat down and watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s new documentary called Before the Flood. The documentary captures a three-year personal journey alongside Academy Award-winning actor and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio as he interviews individuals from every facet of society in both developing and developed nations who provide unique, impassioned and pragmatic views on what must be done today and in the future to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.
Many of my friends are outdoor enthusiasts. Naturally, we are all very environmentally conscious. We thrive to minimize our impact to planet Earth as much as we can. Some of my friends are vegetarians and vegans, many of them use bikes as the main mode of transportation, some practice the 100-mile-diet, and some even do self-propelled skiing & hiking trips (i.e. bike or kayak to a destination then hike/ski).
Before the Flood is about global warming and its effects to our planet. Being already environmentally conscious, I am quite familiar with a number of things mentioned in the movie. However, it was a good reminder what we are doing on a daily basis has a direct impact to the well-being of the planet.
Before the Flood Key Facts
Here are some mind-boggling key facts from the movie.
- Electricity consumption by one American at home is equivalent of 1.5 citizens of France, 2.2 citizens of Japan, 10 citizen of China, 34 citizens of India, and 61 citizens of Nigeria. This is due to Americans are building bigger houses, building more, and using more (Sadly I think us Canadians aren’t doing that much better either).
- According to Elon Musk it would only take 100 gigafactories to transition the entire world to sustainable energy!!!
- Of all the reasons for tropical deforestation, the foremost is beef. Beef is one of the most inefficient use of resources on the planet. In the US, 47% of land is used for food production and, of that, 70% of the land is used to grow cattle food. The thing that we actually eat – fruit, vegetables, nuts, only takes up 1% of the food production land.
- Cows produce methane. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, more impactful than CO2. Every molecule of methane is equivalent of 23 molecules of CO2. About 10-12% of total US emissions is due to beef.
I’ll cut to the chase, can we all agree that global warming is real?
I mean, it’s obvious that average temperatures are increasing, the polar ice is melting, glaciers are melting faster, and the sea level is rising. As a result, we are seeing more extreme weathers – more severe storms, more severe droughts, more powerful hurricanes. Is there a way to save ourselves from this impending catastrophe? While watching the movie I kept thinking that a lot of the unnecessary energy consumption can be reduced or eliminated simply by practice frugality.
Frugality… the saviour of our wallets and our planet!
Being frugal doesn’t just mean we get to save money. Frugality has so much more to offer. I truly believe if more people practice the concept of frugality, as a society, we can prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.
How and why?
- Turn down the thermostat, turn off the lights when not in use, and take shorter showers, all these actions reduce our energy consumption, which in terms, reduces green house gas.
- Eat less meat by switching to substitutes like tofu, beans & legumes, eggs, mushrooms, or lentils. Or you can eat more vegetables. Meat substitutes and vegetables typically take up less land to grow and take less energy to grow & produce.
- Buy used instead of buying new. This means items don’t just get thrown away and end up in landfills. We live in a throw-away-buy-a-new-one-instead-of-repairing-the-old-device type of society. By eliminating the needs to manufacture something new, significant amount of energy and resources can be saved.
- Walk, bike, or take public transportation instead of driving. This reduces our gasoline consumption and green house gas emission.
- Air dry clothes instead of using a dryer not only saves money, you are reducing energy consumption at the same time. Clothes also tend to last longer when air-dried. If you are not buying new clothes, that means factories don’t need to produce that one extra new clothes, resulting reduction of energy consumption.
- Drink tap water instead of pop or bottled water. Again, that means less energy consumption.
In summary, being frugal not only reduces money you spend each month, it also reduces your energy consumption and green house gas emission. To me, this is a win-win situation.
Thinking about the Future
We owe it to each other – and to our children and grandchildren – to leave our planet in a better state than when we found it- Christopher Dodd
To be perfectly honest, although I’m environmentally conscious, I haven’t really thought what the planet will be like 10, 50, 100, or 200 years after I am no longer around. This obviously has changed since having kids of my own. I want my kids and their kids and their kids and so on and so on to have the same opportunity as I did to enjoy the great outdoor. For examples, to ski and hike on a glacier, to climb some amazing rock formations, to be able to snorkel and see amazing water life, to see the beautiful sunset on a beach, to stand on top of a peak and realizing how small we are, to be completely alone in the wilderness, and etc.
It would be very sad if future generations can’t enjoy the beautiful nature and have to live in a wasteland. I can’t imagine a life where you have to wear protecting-life-support gear when going outside. I hope we will never get to that point.
In case you’re curious, here’s the full movie of Before the Flood (if the movie below doesn’t work, you’ll have to pay for it). I highly recommend it.
Dear readers, can you think of other frugal practices we can do to save our planet? Are you concerned where we are heading environmentally?