Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Green Grumbles

First off - I really DO try to remain positive on here (at least I think I do, sorry if I don't). That is one of my goals: focus on the positive. But, today I am grumbly. Maybe it is the extra caffeine from indulging in coffee (I'm quickly finding out decaf is better for me) - it tends to have the same effect on me as too much bourbon & whiskey ... the "asshole effect."
We're in a time of economic recession, where everyone around the world is reeling from the effects and feeling the strains, but we're also in a "green boom." Normally I would be one of the first to cheer this Green Boom, and I truly am thrilled to no end about it. But, I'm also kinda disgusted.
I just read a line about a couple building their dream home, how it is self-sufficient, they practice permaculture, how their "property is officially recognized as a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and listed as part of the National Registry of Backyard Wildlife Habitats", they use passive solar energy, and so on. The title of this article was: Create a Self-Sufficient Green Dream.
I was ready to devour the article, with it's gorgeous photography, and learn all I could in order to apply it to our lives and home. Then I got to this line (talking about the architect and designing the house itself): [he] let the property’s sloping topography guide him in designing a three-bedroom, 2,700-square-foot structure tucked into the site’s south-facing slope. HELLO?? A 2,700-square-foot house for ONE COUPLE!?!?!?!? Don't you think you could've minimized your footprint by building a SMALLER HOUSE!?!?
I am so sick of trying these companies trying to sell me a clean, green conscience! It is great to buy recycled products, but it is also great to make use of what you already have. Yes, CFL lightbulbs are fantastic, but no, I am NOT going to go around my house and throw away all the incandescent bulbs that haven't burnt out yet just to replace them with CFLs!! We replace them as they burn out, as we have an actual NEED for them! Yes, bamboo cutting boards and recycled glass plates, bowls, and glasses are wonderful - but until we actually have a NEED to replace what we already have, I'm not going to just go out and spend money that we don't have and things we don't actually need! And, even when I do need to replace something, I like going to antique malls (our town happens to have an abundance, but you can substitute a Goodwill Store, yard sale, or whatever is prominent in your town here) to see if I can find something that fits my needs as well as my desires. Do I want to use less plastic containers, yes .... so let's see if I can find some vintage pyrex/glass dishes that someone would like to sell. Benefits? Hmm - 1) I save $ as I am not spending $60+ on a new, hip, green container; 2) I am supporting my local economy if I buy it locally, or if I use something like ebay then I am supporting someone else trying to make a living, not some big business hopping on a trend; 3) I am giving life back to something that otherwise would be trash; 4) I am not just accumulating more new crap when there is perfectly good stuff already out there. I'm guessing you see the point here.
If you have the money and want to spend it all on everything new & green, well then good for you. But, for the rest of us, those who are really feeling the pinch lately, those who are trying to figure out how to afford true necessities, there are other ways.
Being green is good. Going green is great. But using what you have, making-do, not buying into the fad (no matter how much we happen to love the fad) is even better.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Oh gosh, I agree with this post 100%! I say the same thing all the time. Buying new green stuff is great if you MUST buy new stuff but I'd rather buy old stuff or just find a new way to use MY stuff! Thank you for putting it in words in such a great way.