The Carmignani-Goodman Family
My husband Paul and I reside in San Diego with our dog, Cashew. The climate here is sublime, but we have been under drought conditions for a couple of years, so water conservation is critical. We are both blessed with short commutes to work, and I’d gladly ride my bike to the office if there was a bike lane through Mission Valley and drivers were a bit more considerate of cyclists.
Challenge #5: It’s All Fun and Games.This was an odd conglomerate of items and tasks for Challenge #5—a jumbo battery charger and reusable water bottles—in the context of our recreation activities. Not being a cave hunter or living under a bridge (thankfully), I was hard pressed to tie these items together. About the only battery-charged recreation we do is taking pictures, and we already have a batter recharger for those little AAs.
Challenge #4: In the Dark?
Lighting is everything. It needs to be efficient and far-reaching, but not glare. It needs to be warm but not stifling. Ambient lighting can enhance or deflate the best of moods. When I saw that low-watt bulbs were part of this Green Family gig, I blanched. That morgue-green lighting just puts my teeth on edge! I’d rather sit in the dark than languish in that swampy hue. Imagine my delight when, after installing the low-impact light bulb into our living room lamp, the room ignited in the typical warm glow that other high-use bulbs display. Yeah! I guess the one we already had was made a few years ago, before General Electric mastered the family-friendly glow. Now I can save a few k-watts and not dampen—or darken—my mood!
Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?
In a word: scrumptious. That’s how good the 100-mile-radius chicken soup came out for the Green Challenge (see previous post, Chicken Noodle Soup). Really, it is quite delicious, and even Paul said the chicken tasted “happier” than the regular (cheaper) grocery store variety. Yeah!
Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?
With our buttery climate and enthusiastic siphoning of water for farming, you’d think it would be a piece of cake to rustle up the ingredients that are made, grown, and raised within a 100-mile radius of San Diego for my world-famous chicken noodle soup. I seized the opportunity to prance over to our Sunday Farmer’s Market, grocery bags in hand, to “hunt and gather” for our Green Valentine’s Day feast (albeit a few days early, due to the Challenge #3 deadline). My chicken soup will be good for the soul and the heart!
Challenge #2: Staying Warm for Winter.The Kill A Watt gizmo in the Green Families Challenge Kit held more surprises! (See previous post, Toasty House, Hasty Shower, Part I.) I found a suitable outlet and plugged in Paul’s cell-phone charger, a common electricity “vampire.” The directions said “Don’t be surprised if the total cost display is 0.00 initially. It will take some time to accumulate cost.” So I went shopping, watched the Grammy’s, and still no reading. The phone was then completely charged, so I switched appliances: the toaster. Plugged in, the reading quickly increased: it costs us $1.36 per month just sitting on the counter plugged in! I pushed it down as though toasting something, and it reached $3.26 in one minute. I may have to swear off toast completely.
Challenge #2: Staying Warm in Winter
Moving from the moist climes of Washington State to San Diego has my “rain clock” screaming most months, even after living over a decade in Southern California. Following eight straight months of bone-dry weather (barring morning moisture dripping off the car), I would love nothing more than to get caught in a huge, thundery deluge, but alas, this fine city is not exactly famous for such weather tantrums. Rather, this is the land of blaring blue skies, buttery breezes, and slathering moisturizer.
Challenge #1: What’s your carbon footprint?
I was shocked. Appalled, really. Nearly horrified! I mean, I consider our little household pretty mindful about resources and what we consume and what we conserve. So when I calculated our carbon footprint (I waited until I had a current San Diego Gas & Electric bill in hand) and it revealed that we spew 21.9 METRIC TONS of carbon into the atmosphere each year, with the national average being 21 metric tons, I was reeling. Our miniature commutes, rabid recycling efforts, well-insulated home, drastic water conservation, and profound aversion for using plastic grocery bags all still spelled out CARBON EMISSIONS. Argh. So I will be buying 1.2 acres of rain forest for $108 to pay penance for my carbon sins. I hope it helps.