On the green side of the ledger, I commute by foot to my upstairs office and rarely drive as much as 50 miles a week. I nurse along a 16-year-old vehicle and a 17-year-old refrigerator, doubting that the energy savings from more efficient models would offset the energy spent by mining iron, rolling steel, and manufacturing new machines.
I recycle with little confidence that it makes much difference. As my incandescent lights wink out I replace them with the weird curly-cue fluorescents, wondering about the implications of eventually disposing of bulbs each containing a speck of mercury. Is that worse than the mercury in the fish I buy? Life’s complexities are beyond analysis. We do what we can and then sink or swim together.
This house was built, as best as I can tell, over about 75 years, added onto again and again as the need arose. I think maybe it was two houses once, joined together at some point by a makeshift hallway. There are rooms made of adobe, rooms made of concrete block, rooms made of lumber — 2 by 6s in the newer part, 2 by 4’s in the rest. Despite the double-paned windows, the kitchen is cold in the winter. It exudes heat. How much energy/money would it take to make it more robust? How much does that matter in a world where the population increases exponentially — and whoever has the money is building a second home in Santa Fe?