Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It ain't easy being green

I don't know if you know this or not, but talk radio is pretty right wing. Today I was listening to them say that being "green" does nothing for the earth. There are some studies to support the fact that some people do a little green to appease their consciences and have a "larger footprint" than people who do nothing. This is akin to the dieter who walks around the block to make up for two bags of M&M's. But to say that it is better to do nothing is a little crazy, and again normal doesn't sell ad time.

Their main contention this morning was compact fluorescent bulbs. They contain mercury, and in ten years when we all start throwing those bulbs into the landfill the mercury will leech out and kill us all. Turns out they do contain mercury. Turns out there are special disposal instructions, but rather than spending our energies educating let's whine and cry that the hippies are ruining our lives.

You may or may not remember twenty years ago the whole "recycling" of plastic shopping bags was nothing more than a warehouse in Wisconsin that was storing them until an affordable technology became available. Now they make everything out of plastic shopping bags, even decks. Warehouse guy is probably making some good money these days.....

I don't even use plastic bags anymore, not a matter of greenness or not, it was that they were taking over my life. I'm quite certain our shopping habits generated 50 or so shopping bags per week. Bags which I could not bear to throw out, because I'd like to be green, 100's of bags that hung out in my laundry room waiting for a better idea. We use them for liners in our little trash cans, for stinky diapers, in the shredder and whatever else we can come up with, but there came a point, where we would never overcome the deficit unless we just plain stopped. I in my former residence would use my own shopping bags, but when we moved here "green" was not big, it wasn't born or even conceived, it didn't exist. Even the whole food store gave us the option of plastic or plastic. I tried several times to bring my own bags, I got one of three results....

1: they'd ask for a price check
2: they'd put my groceries into a plastic bag before placing it in my own bag.
3: they'd wad my bags up and put them in plastic bags.

For the sake of my criminal record, I chose to use plastic rather than strangle those who lacked sufficient gray matter. Until my laundry room looked like a warehouse in Wisconsin.

So, late last year I bought one of those rolling file carts at Office Depot and leave it in the back of my car, throughout the day I take my cute little bags to the stores I visit, put in my one or two items, and deposit them into the file box in the bag of my car. When I'm done shopping at ten different places, I have one box to take in, and zero plastic. I may not single handedly save the planet, but I've saved the laundry room 500 bags.

I doubt my family will ever get to the point that we are so green we're "freegans" but we're trying to have tiny little footprints. We buy high quality stuff that won't need to be replaced next week, we recycle what we can, when we can. We use reusable products rather than disposable, we use plastic containers rather than plastic bags. Our furniture is at best second hand. And when the day comes that our compact fluorescents should die, unless the hippies have taken our computers, I will Google "proper disposal of compact fluorescents" and have faith that someone has come up with a money making solution to the problem by them. They always do.

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Cast of Characters

  • BOB - Born of the body children
  • BOTH - Born of the heart children
  • Roran aka Big Girl - 18 year old BOB daughter - recently booted from the nest
  • Big Boy - 15 year old BOB son
  • Radical - 9 year old BOB son who fyi is not RAD
  • Felpsy aka lil middle - 4 year old BOTH boy who is RAD and is the cumin in our soup
  • Booger - 4 year old BOTH boy, sib to Felpsy, Twin to....
  • Princess - 4 year old BOTH girl. Diva,