Around 8:00pm on Monday, the first day of no impact week, I found myself using my personal laptop on my own bed, in my own room, with my own lamps and Christmas lights lighting the room. I was taking some “ho-hum” time, as our inspiration for the week, Colin Beavan, would term such leisure and carefree time. Monday, not unlike other days in the week, are utterly exhausting days that begin at 8:30am in French class and and end at 3:00am after a shift at the Bandersnatch. In order to see the day through at maximum performance, I give myself coping blocks–warm oatmeal and a cup of coffee for breakfast, a post-lunch nap, and down time in my room before work at 11:00pm.
As a disclaimer, I view my lifestyle up until this point as relatively low-impact. I don’t consume a lot of gas or fast food, nor do I bask in long, hot showers. Plus I spent 8 months taking bucket showers and living without electricity, so I often feel like I can take a little extra here and there because I conserved so much during that time (contrary to the lesson you would think I had learned).
According to the goals I set for the week, I should spent time in common spaces lit regardless of my presence, and use desktops in computer labs or the library that are powered up regardless of me as a user. But the comfort of my bed and the exhaustion of the day drew me away from those goals. I wrote into my goals that one of my only forms of waste would be that paper oatmeal packaging. I wasn’t willing to give it up (also partially due to my meal plan which allows me to frequent the dining hall twice per day on average). Honestly, I surprised myself in the resistance I put up in conforming to my No Impact goals. I justified the use of electricity and the production of waste based on emotional needs and coping blocks. I was hard pressed to rationalize making such sacrifices. So, as the week progresses, I hope to build an internal conservation ethic beyond what I already practice. I hope to be able to rationalize making these changes in my habits and to find new coping mechanisms for the stressful student life I lead.