As Day 2 of No Impact comes to a close, the real No Impact Man’s idea of the hedonic treadmill comes to mind. I believe I did a lot better today than I did yesterday (in terms of unplugging my fan, avoiding using paper towels and napkins, and eating each meal at Slayter). Even thought I did much better, the treadmill idea comes to mind because I am very aware of how much convenience and pleasure-seeking motives come into play and often rank higher in priority than being environmentally conscious.
I really saw the hedonic treadmill idea while traveling home from Wooster tonight after my lacrosse game. Because it was a late game and a bit of a drive back to Denison, our team ordered Panera for dinner on the way home. This did not phase me one bit at first, but when I saw the bags upon bags and containers and plastic silverware from Panera piling on the bus, I felt a little guilty. I know that it was convenient for our coaches to order in advance take out from Panera, but that was just the thing that got me: convenience. This is what made me realize how much the hedonic treadmill is part of our culture. It was easier to order take out and throw away the absurd amount of paper, plastic, and non-reuseable products than organize, for example, a team potluck after the game in which parents would contribute foods in bulk to the team. I am aware that there are many other factors that could play into the efficiency and sensibility of this idea (i.e. number of parents, monetary issues, location of the game, etc), but I could not help but wonder the other possibilities that would question this pleasure-seeking and convenience oriented way of thinking that our culture has fallen into.
So, clearly, convenience beats all and we all seek pleasure. I realized today that my lifestyle has aspects of the hedonic treadmill, but other than eating the Panera for my dinner driving in a large coach bus a total of 132 miles (oops…I can’t help that one!), I did okay (better than yesterday at least)! For the remaining days of this No Impact Week, I am aware that there may be some uncontrollables (like traveling to games), but I will do what I can to control what I can. – Whitney