Something Beautiful or Humorous: Apples that Eli painted

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day

... Oh don't get too excited. I'm not jumping on the bandwagon and becoming "GREEN." I wish. In fact, I welcome encouragement for those of you that truly have this passion. You've got a challenge dealing with me. But I'm willing to be convinced. However, right now, I make a very, very, very, bad environmentalist for these reasons (sorry to all the fish, polar bears & whatever else I'm probably inadvertently killing!!!):

  1. I love beautiful luscious green grass. No, not the kind in our front yard. :( We've been trying & miserably failing! More like the golf course kind. (Bad & evil because it requires fertilizer, weed killer & lots of water.)
  2. A dark depressing house with all the lights off does just that- it depresses me. I can shut off the lights while I'm gone, but why are you going to make me sit in the dark in my own house?
  3. I like heat in the winter and A/C in the summer. I heard in the summer, you are supposed to have your thermostat set to 78 degrees. Excuse me- did you say 78?? Someone who lives in Virginia-- explain to the world why this is not possible.
  4. I don't have a lot of time on my hands to be unplugging and plugging appliances, carrying around my own special canvas shopping bags, walking everywhere, saving bags of batteries and all the other stuff I'm not supposed to be throwing out (although we do recycle glass, plastic & paper), washing cloth diapers, cloth napkins, bringing my own containers and silverware to the fast food places for them to put my food in (!!!!!).
  5. I am a big skeptic that these "natural" green cleaning products will really work. (Or worse yet, making your own. Mint & water are really supposed to clean the throw up and poop in our house?) I really enjoy Lysol, Windex & Fabuloso. Every environmentalist is probably cringing right now. Sorry! I can't help it!! You're going to have to give me some good hard proof that the natural stuff works & kills germs.
  6. I really love my water pressure. Who wants a drip, drip, drip shower? And having to flush the toilet 400 times before it works because it uses so little water that it's not even effective anymore...
  7. Organic everything... Ok- for the health benefits I am on board with that one. But how guilty do I have to feel if I I can't afford to buy everything at Whole Paycheck Whole Foods, although I really love, love, love that store?
  8. Other things that I recently learned I have to feel guilty for:
  • Eating bananas (they come from Ecuador and it wastes too much energy for them to get here. You're supposed to only eat local produce). Same with everything that you eat or consume from more than a couple hundred miles from your house.
  • Wearing clothing. (the only fabrics that don't hurt the earth by how they are produced or how they biodegrade are gunnysack or high priced "ultra-green" fabrics).*
  • Buying anything made in China or shipping anything to or or from the US by cargo ship. (When the old ships wear out, they just discard them at the bottom of the sea. Hello! Huge ships are not biodegradable! Like an oil spill but all the time.)
  • Eating meat. (Chances are, the fish, cows & the chickens were mistreated if they were raised to be eaten and eating too much of it gives you too big of an ecological footprint.)**
  • Living in a suburb instead of smack in the middle of a city. The sprawl is too environmentally costly. We are ruining the earth by commuting, killing birds & nature with overly big homes, and causing stores to have to be built all over the place.*

I feel the need to end on a happy note. As my 5 Happy Things, I will tell you a few things that I am willing to do (ok, believe it or not, we are doing a few smart things already, but here are a few additional ones so that I stop with all my stubborn-ness about "going green"):

  1. Use CFL lightbulbs (the ones that look like little swirly ice cream cones.) This took some real convincing for me, but they really are just as bright and nice & that way I can feel less guilty for having the lights on all the time!)
  2. Once in a while, whenever I can, and whenever I actually remember, I think our family should try to get organic food. You know, you do what you can do.
  3. Get a reusable water bottle instead of using up a lot of little plastic ones. Ok. That doesn't sound that hard. Oprah says to do it, so I believe her.
  4. Anything environmentally friendly that ends up at Target, I will buy. I can definitely handle Method products. Anything else you've found there at our favorite store? Please share so you can help convert me to being more "green."
  5. OK, MAYBE I'm THINKING about getting a canvas bag for groceries. Sigh! And I know usually all our groceries won't fit in it, but at least it will be a few less plastic bags clogging up the landfills for a millennium. (no, we don't throw them out, but I know they still hang around somewhere or another.) And all the trees don't have to be cut down for us to use the paper bags. There! Ok! Are you happy?!

* A great read if you're in the mood to feel guilty: World Changing by Alex Steffen.

** If your ecological footprint is too big it means if everyone lived like you, we would need 3 planets. For more guilt, if you want to take the ecological footprint quiz, go here.


Jen W said...

I don't think of myself as a treehugger by any means, but I have been recycling paper, glass, and aluminum cans long before they came around to your neighborhood to pick them up for you. But ever since we've been in Turkey it's been very eye-opening. They don't recycle anything. People say that they go through the trash we Americans create and recycle that, but I don't think it's the same kind of recycling. Plus, drinking tap water here is a big no-no so we go through loads of plastic water bottles. Americans may complain the most about not being Green, but our country does ALOT better than some. So don't feel too guilty. Have a good one!

Annie said...

Shawn will gladly give you all the reasons why recycling doesn't make sense to an economist, although his current job does have him involved somewhat in electronics recycling... in any case, we are not the tree-hugging types either...

Jenny said...

Hi. I think it's funny that the whole "green" thing is in becaue a few movie stars jump on the band wagon. Baa...Baaa. Anyway, I have always just tried to do simple things to help the enviornment like teaching my kids not to litter and not littering myself, conserving water by teaching the kids not to leave it running when brushing teeth etc., turning off lights when not in use and although I don't recycle enough I think it is very important. For the plastic grocery bags, most grocery stores have a bin in front you can drop off your used ones in which is nice.
As far as organics, not only is it better for your body, it does help conserve the soil and enviornment and I do as much organics as I can but don't think that needs to be extreme either. (ie breaking the budget) Costco actually has a lot of organic stuff now - I get organic milk, eggs, jam, peanut butter and a few other things there. Not only is organic raised better but it always has no preservatives, additives, hormones, etc. As for fruits - the biggest culprits of having pesticides and stuff on them are apples, grapes, and strawberries so they are a good place to start organic and not worry so much about things like banans, oranges, etc. I have a great local fruit market here so I'm lucky that way but Trader Joe's is also a great place - usually cheaper than Whole Foods - to get organic or healtheir foods and snacks. Sorry to write a novel! :)

Kathryn said...

Nat, you crack me up! I do love my canvas bags, when I remember to take them into the store. It's been twice that I have used them now. But they are fabulous. Esp, Trader Joe ones, 99 cents each. I'd write more but someone's climbing on me...

debbie kress said...

I took the quiz and I had to have 4 planets, so you are living better than me!