Does Every Little Bit Count?

Does Every Little Bit Count?

Taryn Williford
Jun 11, 2009

On of the big theories in green thinking is that "every little bit counts." Rather than just give up on environmentalism because you can't make your home into a solar-powered lair, you're encouraged to pursue green living by making small changes everyday, like unplugging your electronics when they're not in use. But a quote in a recent article from a University of Cambridge physics professor got us thinking...

The article, about the emergence of an industry of eco-home consultants, includes this quote:

David J. C. MacKay, a physics professor at the University of Cambridge and author of the new book, "Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air" (UIT Cambridge, 2009), said gestures like unplugging the cellphone charger when not in use should be seen for what they are — tiny.

"It's like bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon," Professor MacKay said. "The energy saved by unplugging the cellphone charger for one day is the same energy used when you drive your car for one second." Topping his list: turning down the thermostat in the winter, flying less and buying less "stuff," which he noted comes embedded with the energy it takes to make it and transport it.

It got us thinking about how our readers feel about the "every little bit counts" theory.

  • Do you practice random acts of environmentalism everyday in the hopes that the little effects will add up to a big impact?
  • Or do you try and focus on more sporadic but more meaningful big gestures?

Tell us in the comments!

Image from functoruser at FlickrCreative Commons License.

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