I've been wanting to write this post for some time now, but I've been having issues with how exactly to say what I want to say. I could come off sounding like a real ass, but I don't want to mince words either. I want to talk about "green"and the "green revolution" and how I think it's kinda BS.
Let me start by saying that B and I are not "green". Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! Hang on and let me explain and please withhold judgement (or criticism) until the end. Now, when I say we're not green, that doesn't mean that we don't care. We do care. Very much. But, we don't live our lives around being "green". I drive a twenty-five year old truck that gets 12 miles per gallon for cryin' out loud. I'm not a recycling nazi. I don't take reusable bags to the grocery store. I don't visit the farmer's market to buy locally grown produce. And, I don't, don't, don't, absolutely do not buy "green" products that are marked up to three times the price of their evil, world-hating, environment-ruining counterparts. And, get ready for this, my garden is not organic. I know! I'm evil! The ruination of our fragile ecosystem rests squarely upon my selfish, world-hating shoulders. How do I sleep at night?
Those are the things I don't do. Here are the things I do on a regular basis.
I save water. I live in an earth-bermed house. I rarely use the air conditioner. I rarely drive. I hand wash and line dry laundry. I make my own cleaning products and toiletries. I grow and preserve my own food. I reuse plastic containers. I hand wash dishes. I don't turn on lights until it gets dark. I cook from scratch. I compost. I raise livestock.
And, do you know why I do those things, for the most part? Because I'm trying to live a frugal, simple, responsible, independent life.
I save water because if I don't, our well might run dry. I don't drain the tub after baths or showers and use that water for plants (decorative, not edible). I save every drip from every faucet. And I don't flush the toilet unless it's...necessary.
I live in an earth-bermed house because it's amazingly energy efficient. It stays cool with just fans and it faces southeast, so I get a ton of natural light.
I don't drive often because I don't need to. I have everything I need here. What I don't have, I either try to make, or wait until I need other things and run all my errands at once. I have a 25 yr old Blazer because we were able to pay for it in cash and it makes sense to have a 4x4 up here. It's practical for our lifestyle and location.
I hand wash and line dry laundry to save water and electricity. I make my own laundry detergent because it's unbelievably less expensive and I can reuse the container. I make dish detergent as well for the same reason. Same with shampoo and conditioner, face wash, and lotion. And, bonus to being cheap, I know exactly what I'm putting on my body.
In my day-to-day, I do some "green" stuff. But not because it's green. I'm not going to go down the list and explain the why's behind all the little things. I hope that most of it is pretty self-explanatory. I will, however, explain the why behind the whole deal.
When we decided to move up here, being green was the furthest thing from our minds. Our goal, in living this life and making the choices we make, is, really, our attempt to stick it to the man. We don't want to be dependent. We don't want our choices to be limited by what some faceless corporation decides is most cost-effective for them. We don't want to beg at the door of Proctor and Gamble or Monsanto. We want to live on our own terms. If by using vinegar and water to clean my windows and counters (and pretty much everything else...vinegar is one of the most useful things ever), I can take a few dollars from the pocket of Proctor and Gamble, then hell yeah. If I can save seeds and grow my own food and tell Monsanto and Conagra to shove it, why wouldn't I? If I can turn off my lights and my air conditioner and depend less on "The Grid"...it seems like a no-brainer. All of these things just make sense to me. And yeah, I realize I'm a sellout in several ways. My truck for one. But, again, it's practical to have it.
And, I never even really thought about the "green" aspect of our choices until I found this random blog. The writer of this blog listed all the "green" things she did on a daily basis and challenged her readers to list their "green" accomplishments for the day, which, in and of itself, is a fine and noble thing. But the tone of it was...rather condescending and holier-than-thou. And it got me to thinkin'. Does this woman really think she's better because she recycles her Starbucks cup and goes to a gas station that has 10% ethanol in the gas? Does she feel somehow validated by taking her reusable bags to the grocery store and loading them up with over priced "green" cleaners? When did saving the environment become a contest? When did it become a notch in the bedpost of suburbanites everywhere? Doing those things are important, yes, I'm not arguing that they're not. It just seemed...contrived.
And, please, please, please, don't feel like I'm judging. I'm really, really not. I'm just puzzled. I think that people living purposefully is a wonderful thing. But, I also think this whole green revolution has kind of marginalized the reality of the situation. Corporations that pollute and contaminate and dump are profiting off of their "green" product lines and people are falling for it. That's the pickle. And by listing the things I listed at the beginning of this post, I wasn't doing what that blogger did. I'm not trying to get all "I'm better than you" because I do a, b, and c and you don't. I will never be the person who thinks you suck because you don't clean with vinegar or make lotion or hand wash laundry. People make their own choices and do what's best for their particular situation and it's neither my place nor my responsibility to judge those choices. I was just trying to illustrate the main point of this post (which I seem to have drifted away from..I'll get back to it...hang on). I just don't get how other people DO feel justified in judging me or anyone else for our lack of "green" motivation. Those people get the finger just the same as the man, in my book.
So, yeah, wow. I kind of went off on a tangent. Suffice it to say, that when people decide to break their dependence on what we've come to think of as comfort, a whole slew of "greening" takes place. It's just a matter of deciding what's important. If sticking it to the man is important (and it should be!!!!!), then you will live a greener, less impactful life even if it's kind of by accident.
Grow your own food. Make your own stuff. Turn off your lights. Walk. Be green. But don't do it because you're trying to "out-green" the Joneses. Do it because you want to give the finger to the man and live on your own terms. If we all did that, we wouldn't have to try be "green", we just would be.
Whew. Sorry. Tomorrow, back to picking stuff and canning stuff and garden folly and humorous anecdotes about various two- and four-legged beasts.
And I'm really tempted to turn off comments for this post...but, just for kicks, we'll see what happens.