One Green Thing: Comfort at what price?

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

Every generation points out to the next that times were harder for them. I guess it is my turn.

As I rolled past the nearby grade school yesterday morning, I noticed the driveway was full of cars with moms and kids waiting to be dropped off. As if an assembly line, the next car in line would pull up, one kid would get out, and the car would pull away.

Now, I was thinking it was a pretty nice morning yesterday, and these kids are pretty well taken care of. But the price of their “comfort” is at the expense of our environment and the air the rest of us breathe every day.

Those cars are idling the entire time going through the line (and maybe even in the driveway at home). So, here it comes … in my day, I walked to the end of our driveway and waited for the bus to arrive. No matter the weather … cold and snow meant boots, hats, gloves, and rain meant we took an umbrella. My mother would have laughed at a request to take us to school.

Then, as a part of my reading yesterday, I ran across something that talked about our houses making us fatter. When the temperature is lower, we have a tendency to move around more. And when we are warm, our bodies are not experiencing the mild thermal stress needed to ignite calorie-burn activity. (The Time article also points out the average temperature in British living rooms went from 64.9 to 70.3 degrees between 1978 and 2008.)

I wonder where public buildings and schools set thermostats? With the rising costs of heating in an uncertain economy, at our house we’re going to remember what my mother said and go put on a sweater.

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the Nov. 2-8, 2011, issue

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