With St. Patrick’s Day coming soon, I’ve got green on the brain. But not the four leaf clover kind. It seems no one can talk about the weather anymore without talking about climate change. With my child’s future in my mind, not to mention my food and utility bills, I’m trying to be more eco-friendly. Boy did Kermit have it right–a genius before his time that frog–cause it ain’t easy being green.
What is it so hard? Here’s my take.
Problem 1: We argue about minor details because we don’t want to face the major changes we really have to take.
It’s like the old paper vs plastic debate–most of the time the answer is neither–its reusable bags. But you gotta buy them, remember to bring them with you, deny yourself your stash of garbage bags for the bathrooms. But a few laws later (D.C. and Maryland now charge for bags) and more people are using reusable bags. Lets take problem one and make it harder. Cars vs public transport. The bigger, harder question is where you live vis-a-vis where you work. Hate to be a downer, but its true. But like you, I’m stuck where I am for now, so I struggle with the car vs metro choice–when all I really want is to be able to walk to work (life from the bedroom to the couch to write full-time, but that’s a whole other post).
Problem 2: A lot of greener products don’t work the same way
Part of my struggles to green my life is that many of the green products are not as good. One package of toilet paper and paper towels do not last nearly as long as the non-green variety, so am I really saving the planet if I use 4fourtimes as many? And many of the cleaning projects don’t get things quite as clean. And I am not that much of a neatnik. But I keep trying new ones.
Problem 3: Cost
This is pretty self-explanatory. If you are living close to month to month, dollars add up, quickly. So like many people, my shopping cart mix up more and less green choices. Which means solar panels and geothermal heating options aren’t exactly on my agenda at the moment. And as daffodils and other bulbs open and die because the weather in January alternates daily between 60F and 12 F, my valiant efforts to turn off lights, use my utilities in the evening, and program my thermostat probably aren’t enough.
Problem 4: Knowledge or lack thereof
We don’t really know what we don’t know. I often feel like I’m walking blind on the edge of a ledge when it comes to these big things. I can do what I can of my part, but its a drop in the bucket. And even though every one I know does something, the bucket still seems like its getting emptier not fuller.
Paper or plastic? Organic, free-range, human or grocery brand eggs?
What do you do?