Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gaia Will Thank Me

So today I am shedding "lyte" on conscious consumption.  Specifically, how small changes can have big impacts on our environment.  

Last night after dinner, I was asking one of kids if they were enjoying these cereal bars that I had scored for free from one of my jobs.  They told me that they were at lunch, telling the other kids about the awesome cereal bars that they had in their lunch.  When the other kids saw them, they were mocked.  Now, these bars claim to mimic, albeit badly, cinnamon toast.  But according to my child's peers, they are lame and taste like crap.

My child then explained to the table at large, "My mom is a nut job who only gives us organic stuff to eat."   This child then froze, realizing that the story was being told to the aforementioned "nut job".  I was stung; here I was, merely trying to extend my child's life span and I was being summed up in terms used to describe people who wear tinfoil hats and worship pyramids.  

A "nut job"; I'll own it.  I had a friend who moved to the West Coast after high school.  When she came home for a visit she told me, "I've found a whole state of people just like you, it's called California."  I started recycling decades ago.  I once had a party in the early 90's  and used all reusable plastic dinnerware and recycled all the cans & bottles, I was trying to demonstrate to my father-in-law that it was possible to have fun without overloading our landfills.  I showed my skeptical father-in-law that at the end of the evening I had only one bag of garbage as opposed to several.  He was underwhelmed and told me knew he was at a "yuppie" party because there was a vegetable tray.  This from a man who thinks global warming is a Democratic conspiracy.

I have used cloth grocery bags for years.  I used to have remind myself to use them, so I taped a piece of paper with a sketch of a bag and the words "Don't Forget The Bags" to my steering wheel.  One time we valet parked our car.  When the valet brought our car up at the end of our stay, he said,"I just have to ask, why did you need to remind yourself to bring your luggage?"  When I explained that all I was doing was trying to save the earth.  Thinking globally, acting locally.  He smirked, shook his head, but he took my tip.  I guess he was thinking green too.

I replaced most of our light bulbs with compact fluorescents.  When we have the money, I want to switch out our standard power surge protectors for the smart ones that let you turn off certain devices and leave others on.  Now I am not doing this to feel smug and superior.  I am far from perfect, I drive an SUV.  Though I will admit, I thought about, in more prosperous times, of purchasing carbon offsets for it.  When gas was sky high last summer, I rode my bike to work.  In 100 degree heat.

If being a "nut job" means caring for mother earth, so be it.  If being a "nut job" means feeding my family healthy and organic, so be it.  If being a "nut job" means thinking about what I buy, and what to do with it when I am done, so be it.  Now, I gotta go, my tinfoil hat design class starts in ten minutes.           


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