Sunday, November 09, 2008


My family had a lovely time on Saturday at the DC Green Festival. We walked around the enormous exhibit hall and tasted fair-trade chocolate, admired gorgeous handmade gifts and clothing, contemplated buying solar-powered LED holiday lights to hang in our sukkah, and enjoyed vegan soul food for lunch. We also talked to installers about fixing our ancient rope-and-pulley windows, met community leaders from a variety of organizations, and took in a few interesting lectures.

Our 9yo son had a wonderful time hanging out at the teen booth. He took a class on bike maintenance, made a shopping bag out of a used t-shirt, and learned how to yo-yo. He also learned how to play the nose harp. (Don't ask...)

As always, crowds this large leave me exhausted and ornery. Crowds this big focusing on buying and selling stuff--no matter how responsible that stuff might be--leave me even more overwhelmed.

* * *

Given the purchase-oriented nature of much of the fair, I was not expecting to be as motivated to work on changing the efficiency of our house as I have been since we returned from the festival.

For a long time we've been thinking about replacing our 1970 refrigerator. Unfortunately, it appears that today's refrigerators are all much larger--and a larger fridge will not fit in the spot. We've been trying for a while to grapple with the fact that when our fridge eventually dies, we'll have to rip out the upper cabinets and the pantry on that wall just to fit a new one in.

Often we wonder how much electricity our current fridge uses. While old refrigerators are notoriously inefficient, ours is so small compared to newer models that we've wondered if it might not be quite so awful after all. So I bought a Kill-a-Wattand plugged the fridge in last night. I'll let you know how our tests go!

One replacement option we've considered is a hyper-efficient Sunfrost fridge-only model. We do have a chest freezer downstairs to supplement. But would we go crazy having to go downstairs just for ice cream?

As I keep asking myself that question, I realize that worrying about this kind of small inconvenience is ridiculous. Our grandparents and great-grandparents grew up without much in the way of the stuff we now consider absolutely essential. That doesn't mean we should get that particular fridge at all--just that I need to be a bit more aware of the sense of entitlement and expectation with which I approach my life.

* * *

Tomorrow: a post about some non-product-oriented experiences at the Green Festival.


JessTrev said...

Great post. I thought the Green Fest was disappointingly commercial as well -- we finally got over there Sun afternoon -- but luckily spent much of my time listening to Diane MacEachern and Steve Ma. Much of what they had to say focused on reducing consumption and reuse -- and *then* targeting dollars spent in a responsible way. Those greens were amazing (from vegan soulfood booth). Also loved the orange dreamsicle cake. Mmmmmm.

I agree with yr analysis of fridge. I fall into entitlement thinking as well - agree that you may very well not want that model of fridge but that your reflections are helpful in a general sense of living consciously.

Sorry I missed you Sat!

The Tell-Tale Heart said...

Nose flute! As if a flute isn't a bad enough image.

Can you believe we didn't even walk through the books? When's the last time that happened?

Great post.

Anonymous said...

the ice cream might not be bad... but the ice... I drink lots of things with ice.

Meanwhile... I'm thinking a kill a watt would be a great toy. Are they s'pensive?

The Purloined Letter said...

The kill a watt was under $25. There are fancier ones than that available as well.

I'm thinking I'll be able to pass it on to friends after we've done more experimenting. It certainly seems like the kind of toy to share between families.


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