18 August, 2007

Blue's been a long time coming

You ever make a promise to yourself, some sort of noble intention, then just let opportunity slip right on by, and the next thing you know that promise gets holed up somewhere, stuffed into some dark corner, filled to the neck with other well meant but fuzzy good goals, a broom closet full of every new year's resolution you made since 1971? The classic lose 10 lbs, the give blood, give-up gossip, the go-to-church-more chestnuts? Well you know what they say: good intents, hell roads, nice pavement.

Well, meet one of mine. I've been wanting, meaning, trying to take the plunge and go fully green, live by my principles and take that one small step towards living a kinder, gentler lifestyle. To do what it takes to lighten my footstep, and to help others take heart and help lessen theirs. This is definitely the time for it. Let's face it, more and more people are jumping on the green bandwagon. And it feels good not feeling so goofy bringing my own grocery sacks to the store, as I'm clearly no longer the only person doing it. I remember a few years ago (ok, maybe 5 or 6 years ago) being mocked at Target by the cashier, because I brought my own bags and insisted on bagging my purchases in them. Just last week, same Target, different cashier, I was told I was "right on" because I brought my own bags. Small action, but signs of progress.

Since the once & future president, Mr. Al Gore burst on the scene with his modest blockbuster, An Inconvenient Truth, global warming has become a household word, the so called mainstream has entered the foray in wanting to do something about it. Green has become more than a color, it's become a movement. When Walmart is the biggest purveyor of organic T-shirts, it may be safe to say we've hit the tipping point, and to care about global warming has become cool.

Oh sure, I know, there's now the danger of greenwashing. of "the Man" marketing things as green & earth friendly, but its still the same ol' same ol' business as usual. This danger is real, I see it all the time now that Vanity Fair has annual green issues, and green is the new black, and Cheetos makes what looks like a healthy cheese nibble. A little green paint over the same petroleum-based product or sweat-shopped shoe, and all we've done as consumers is pay for the feeling of feel-good without any real change.

There's also the danger of turning it into a fad, a passing fancy, like the summer of love, shoulder pads & the hoolah hoop. Hey dad, remember the year when we paid to offset our carbon footprint? Yeah, crazy times, what were we thinking? Reminds me of the year when I put cornrows in my hair in the early 90's, not that it looked good on me, I just wanted to try something different. And they didn't look too bad, at least not until up to the point when they started falling out in long chains, and fell down like a rope from an open window. Yeah, I was real classy in the 90's. Anyhow, I do realize this green buzz thing does run the danger of us just going through the motions and not really do much about it. It, I guess, could be the nafarious le warming de global, or just a recognition that our species and our culture has gone a been cancerous and is blooming out of control across the planet, and we need to do something about instilling a balance in our being in relation to the planet.

Specifically, I want to put balance in my relation to the planet. And still live a lively life, still taking an active part in my society. I don't think the problem gets solved with everybody going off into the wilderness and homesteading, growing our own food, clothes and televisions. In fact, I kinda suspect we need to leave a lot more wilderness, and just get more efficient with the space we do take up. I don't want to be some sort of bearded, shack-living, manifestoed neo-luddite, I means that's neo-ludicrous. I do want to figure out how I can avoid any sort of personal green wash (look ma, I recycle!) and really take stock of my life, and its impact on my environs.

So last year I made a pact. To commit fully to an organics lifestyle. To turn my house inside out & integrate green technology and principles of sustainability into my home. To make positive change. Admittedly awkward in the transition (what do you do with all those empty yogurt containers?) but worth the effort. I bought an electric bike, a bike trailer to tow my groceries, am taking up sewing (recycling fashion), cleaned out my cupboards of all toxic chemicals, cleaners, and cosmetics, and threw out what was left of questionable practices. Shopping at the farmers market. Using those CFLs. My footprint is getting lighter. But still, there is so much room for improvement.

And there's always room for inspiration, and that seems to be plenty. From Cradle to Cradle and Permaculture design philosophies to the simple pleasures of container gardening, to checking out the boon of information out here on the internet. There are challenging times ahead, perfect for creativity and community. And it's really good to be here.


Anonymous said...

Well, well, good for you. I'm not sure where you're coming from, however. Are you making fun of green people or what? It is a well established fact, that hippies and enviromentalists are missing their funny bone, saving the planet is very serious business. Too much angst, no time for funny.

green gaff said...

ha-ha. good one!