Here are the four elements of our yearlong project in ethical living. We will:
1. Be vegetarians.
2. Be serious about recycling (which, living in an apartment in our town, is slightly more difficult than it sounds).
3. Double the recommended charitable donation advised by Peter Singer in The Life You Can Save, from 1% to 2% of our respective incomes. (See http://www.thelifeyoucansave.com/pledge for a specific rundown of what he prescribes.)
4. Volunteer for at least 24 hours (apiece).
Overall, these four elements are pretty much bedrock, zero-sum endeavors with fairly little wiggle room. In other words, we can’t really backtrack on recycling or vegetarianism, for example. (In regards to the latter, we will cut out all meat including fish but allow for eggs and dairy).
As for me, I am primarily interested in how easy these four goals will be to achieve. We just read this article in the Kansas City Star about a couple hipsters living a zero-waste lifestyle, one that seems wholly unattainable not just by the masses but by themselves; I’m more interested in how easy this can all be. Last year I donated 1% of my take-home income quite easily, and stretching this to 2% doesn’t seem like a bankrupting move (although it will be more challenging).