Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green

In the past few years we've all been inundated with various articles extolling the virtues of 'going green' and many of the ideas espoused in said articles are valuable, though I think the change to CF bulbs mantra has been done to death. This week in our local newspaper was yet another article on how easy it is to 'Live Green'.

My concern is that the articles I've been reading recently all seem to start with the disclaimer about how we "don't have to change our lifestyle" to be Green. .....Really? Because I think we absolutely better start changing our lifestyles; it's our lifestyles that have gotten us into the mess we're in today. Toxic chemicals in our foods, peak oil just around the corner, cancer-causing pollution...the list of how our consumer-driven society has depleted the limited resources of this God-given planet goes on and on. And each and every one of us either contributes to the problem or to the solution with the choices we make on a daily basis, the biggest one being what we choose to put in our shopping cart at the grocery store.

We no longer have a connection with our food supply, where it comes from, how it's grown, and ultimately if it even can be considered food at all. Food that doesn't spoil, is probably NOT food. We no longer have a concept of waiting for our fruits and veggies according to the season, produce is available year round. We can have watermelon in Feb. and asparagus in Dec. And most of us don't ask where in the world you can grow watermelons in Feb. because that is irrelevant (Mexico).

That same disconnect can be felt in our home when we turn our thermostats to a comfortable 75 degrees....cooling in the summer, heating in the winter. No connection to the seasons outside our window. I remember one year our heater had broken down and we spent the winter warming our house using the fireplace as our heating source (with the attendant bi-monthly firewood collecting treks so loved by our teenage sons :). Steven would get up in the morning, enter the chilly living room (where many times we could see our own breath) and light up the fire for his awakening family. It was not really a lot of fun. But it taught us something. When a friend remarked on what a mild winter we were having I nearly fell over. Mild? Had it been mild? Because in our house it surely felt anything other than mild. But for someone who's only fleeting acquaintance with the fluctuating temperature had been getting in and out of her car to go to work and come home....maybe it felt mild. In our house it felt like winter. And maybe that wasn't a bad thing.

Though we have since put in a new heater we tend to keep our house pretty chilly in the winter ("put on a sweater") and fairly warm in the summer ("jump in the pool"). We also have a whole-house fan to cool things off at night (tho temps here can stay above 80 even at night). Mostly, we live according to the weather forecast, gardening in the morning, fans in every room, proper clothing (ever wonder why in July you should have to take a sweater to the movie theatre???). We try to eat seasonally and locally as much as possible. In other words, we make concessions to our environment, we don't expect comfort 24/7.

Sometimes, being responsible stewards means sacrifice. A change in our lifestyle was warranted. Change is good, but sometimes it can be hard; we think it's worth it.

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Thanks to Matron of Husbandry at Not Dabbling in Normal whose much more eloquent post inspired this rant ;)

disclaimer: our pool is a 3x12ft. soft-sided temporary one that allows us keep our A/C off. A quick dip in the evening also helps us get to sleep in the wonderfully warm (hot!) Central Valley.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Great post! We too often think that since it is working, I should continue. Thank you for the reminder.