Please help! (and No Impact Man's needle approach to planetary damage)

>> Sunday, October 5, 2008

I read a blog post recently from No Impact Man's archives about a theory he calls the "needle exchange approach to planetary damage." He took the idea from an approach to treating drug addicts, explaining that "the idea was, that if you can't get addicts to stop using drugs, then at least you might be able to prevent transmission of the virus by providing new needles, educating them on 'safe use,' or getting them to take their drugs orally instead of by injection."

No Impact Man applies that theory to environmentalism, concluding that "the message of 'just say no' to consumption simply isn't going to reach all consumers, or for that matter, producers. On the other hand, we may be able to convince them to take approaches that do less harm....Perhaps, by introducing consumers and producers to the idea of reduced harm, we will get them to thinking in such a way that will eventually get them to thinking about reduced resource use. Perhaps we will help them to move from recycling to reusing to reducing."

This approach reminds me of Dr. Leo Marvin's "Baby Steps" theory in the classic movie "What About Bob?" As Dr. Marvin explains it to Bob, "it means setting small, reasonable goals for yourself. One day at a time, one tiny step at a time - doable, accomplishable goals."

Embracing both of these theories, I've decided that as I look for solutions to my own over-consumption and wastefulness, I'll provide a few different levels of options ranging from "baby steps" to more extreme choices, just in case you're at a different level than me. So whether you're just starting to make changes in your life, you're ready to take some big changes, or you're somewhere in the middle like me, hopefully you'll find something to help you on this blog.

Look for my experiment with cloth toilet paper on Wednesday, but today I'm looking for advice....Before we moved to Raleigh, my husband worked from home, which made lunch very easy. Now that he's working in an office, he wants me to buy him those frozen microwavable Lean Cuisine meals. I've been doing that for two months now, and I'm going crazy with guilt. All that packaging! Not to mention that I'm going broke.

My husband says he's willing to change, but he has certain criteria:

1. healthy
2. portable (he prefers to take a week's worth of meals to work on Monday, and he walks to work)
3. he prefers hot meals

I would add:

1. cheap
2. no wasteful packaging (or at least recyclable)

Anyone have any suggestions of lunches for my husband?


Emily October 8, 2008 at 5:18 PM  

Well, Jeanne and I usually cook something on the weekend (a curry, a stew, a tagine, a pot of lentils), and package it up right away in lunch-sized tupperware portions, then eat it for dinner or take for lunch as needed. The cons are: it requires preparation, and you are a little tired of it by Friday. The pros: you can mix up your snacks around it to spice it up; it is usually WAY better than packaged food; and it is healthy/environmentally friendly. I used to just bring sandwich fixings to work (when I had a diff office setup). That worked pretty well.

Emily October 8, 2008 at 5:25 PM  

oh! And I forgot! If we are REALLY organized (doesn't happen that often), we will rotate some of the containers into the freezer, so then you can alternate this week's meal with a different one. The bad part about this is that you have to deal with something frozen. The good part is more variety. But really, the variety thing isn't a problem when you are really hungry. I end up LOVING chicken, vegetables, and rice on Friday when I am hungry enough, even after having it all week.

Conscious Shopper,  October 10, 2008 at 8:46 PM  

Emily, Thanks for the great suggestions!

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