I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile, and with Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, this seemed like a good time for a little confession. So here goes…
I’m bad at being green.
There, I’ve said it. That cat is out of the bag.
Of course I believe in being green, I’m just saying I’m not the best role model for green living. I use way too many paper products, don’t always turn off the light when I leave a room, and our clothes dryer is a 1970s relic that could power a small village. But by far my worst environmental sin is the extra-long, extra-hot shower I take every day. When I was a teenager, my father would bang on the bathroom door in exasperation. Now, my husband sometimes ducks his head in with “The Department of Water and Power just called.” My favorite Seinfeld episode is when Kramer is taking 25-minute showers, even ordering a pair of khakis from J. Crew, and can’t understand how anyone can get everything done in 10 minutes.
But along with this being a year of Buying Nothing New and Decluttering, I want to Go Green.
So this is the first day of my greener lifestyle. See, for me, just THINKING about it and WRITING about it is the first step. I’m not really a “Take the Plunge” kind of person. I think. I plan. I deliberate. THEN I take action. If you catch me at the TAKE ACTION stage, it’s probably really going to happen.
For example, I’ve read some blog posts about switching from paper towels to cotton napkins. They just did it, Nike Style. They stopped buying paper and started using cloth. Boom. Whereas I’ve been THINKING about doing that for months- using less paper, noticing when I think I need to use a paper towel, asking at the Goodwill whether they had any cotton napkins (they didn’t), etc. Back when I quit smoking over 15 years ago, I didn’t wake up one morning and quit cold turkey. I spent a decade THINKING about quitting and trying to quit, and then when I actually did quit, I sent away for all kinds of literature with tips and photos of cancerous lungs. That did the trick, and I gave it up for good.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a walking advertisement for environmental irresponsibility. There are some things we’re doing pretty well- we’re good about recycling and my husband is diligent about disposing of toxic waste like paint at the proper centers, we use cloth bags at the market, we’ve planted drought tolerant landscaping in the front yard (although the backyard weeds are even more eco-friendly), we drive mid-sized Toyotas which are relatively fuel efficient, and when I take those footprint quizzes we come out below average because we live in a small house, don’t have children, and aren’t wasteful. Probably the most green thing I’ve done is to step off the consumer treadmill by joining The Compact.
But I want to do a lot better. So over the next year, I’ll be using my baby steps approach to tackle the following:
1. give up paper towels
2. air dry the laundry
3. switch to natural cleansers
4. start composting
5. stop those catalogs and junk mail once and for all
6. use and waste less water
I hope you’ll join me. Look for a baby steps challenge soon. I’m gearing up for it… One thing I WON’T be doing is giving up my showers. I’ve been trying to make them shorter, but I’m not going to start showering every other day or taking “bird baths.” And you won’t see me taking any Marine-style showers, unless it’s government ordered. I don’t think that’s on Obama’s agenda.
Ah, confessions are so good for the soul. I feel about 10 pounds lighter. What about you? How green are you? Do you have any green confessions you’d like to make? Or maybe you want to chastise me for my wicked ways. Please share in the Comments section.