A more convenient truth

OK … so I found this article today in the Christian Science Monitor about global warming, greenhouse gases, and the importance of keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere.

One of the big things that I’m always hearing about is how horrible long showers are for the environment. According to this article:

A 10-minute shower generates up to four pounds of CO2. A 5-minute shower cuts that in half and a low-flow showerhead drops it further.

My hair is very thick and very curly. Up until five minutes ago, it was also quite long. It is not possible to take a five-minute shower when you have long, thick, curly hair. It is not even possible to take a 10-minute shower when you have long, thick, curly hair. Throw in a big helping of split ends, and you’re talking about a minimum of 15 minutes just to rinse that tangled mess.

Ron and I have been arguing for two years about what length my hair should be. I keep saying I want it bobbed. He keeps saying, “No! I like it long!”

After reading this article this morning, I decided that while most self-respecting hippies would agree that long hair is a must, most self-respecting hippies would also acknowledge that the environment is far more important than some personal fashion statement. And if those figures in the Monitor are right, every five minutes I spend in the shower puts two pounds of CO2 into the environment. That means that my long, thick, curly, heavily damaged hippie hair was responsible for about four pounds of CO2 per day. That’s 10 minutes per day, 365 days a year. I spent the equivalent of two and a half days rinsing shampoo out of my hair last year, which shoved 1,460 pounds — almost three-fourths of a ton — of CO2 into the atmosphere. We won’t even talk about all the chlorine involved in purifying the water I used to rinse my hair, or all the chemicals involved in treating that water once it went down the drain and out to the sewer plant.

Confronted with those facts, Ron agreed that maybe it would be OK for me to have my hair trimmed a little bit — “but no less than shoulder length.”

I handed him the scissors.

“Here,” I said. “Cut it to whatever length you think is appropriate.”

He took off somewhere between six and eight inches, leaving me with the exact haircut I wanted: a bob that falls somewhere between my chin and my shoulders.

I don’t look as hippified as I did a few minutes ago. But I think I look pretty good … and best of all, I no longer feel as if my hair needs its own Terrapass to compensate for its existence.

Now, if I can just get that cycling thing down, maybe I can do something about the environmental impact of my daily commute….