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Posts Tagged ‘Problem solving’

Today  is Earth Day, and there is a lot going on. Funny thing, I don’t feel as inspired by the hype as I think I should.

For starters, I’m suspicious of hype. And although I am grateful that there is a movement of people, a ground swell attempting to make change, I’m also nervous. Because  see two different things happening at the same time: I see an energized faction — and a whole lot of status quo. A status quo that’s educated on the issues but just has other priorities right now. And me, despite this blog, I’m still teetering somewhere in the middle.

My garbage-colored lenses
Since I started this project,  my perspective has certainly shifted.

I don’t see just my friends eating lunch at their desks. I see the plastic container, the plastic bags and the utensils they used when they bought their deli salad. It’ll all go in the trash. And I totally understand why.

I see my mommy friends running after their kids with bottles of water. And I totally understand why.

I see supermarket aisles with boxes of things like coconut water  — tiny little drinks of trash. The display was almost as tall as I was which makes me  wonder, how many people must be buying this stuff. That one little market on 23 Street alone,  had aisles after aisles of boxes, and cans, and bottles.  There’s just so much stuff. Will my not buying a loaf of bread make a difference?

Food embargo time?
Food that used to make me feel cultured now makes me feel guilty. I see imported cheese and have a mixed reaction.  I still want the Swiss Gruyere from Switzerland — but now I have to wonder is deliciousness  worth the environmental damage? I guess imported is off my shopping list. Even as I write this sentence, I feel proseletizing — I’m boring myself.

Urban selection
Part of the joy of living in the city is the excitement of having options — different foods, music, theater, people, everything. Does trying to be sustainable paint me into some sort of boring box. The word provincial technically means that a person is restricted in the way they think about things. That includes palate. When I used to to says, that person’s taste in food is so provincial, it wasn’t a compliment.

Problems, problems, problems
Part of what’s going on is that each one of these silly little day-to-day connundrums sends me in a panic. The anxiety of rethinking every detail of my life.

Do I pick up a bottle of water from the store when a friend asks?
Do I say, we can’t have lunch in this restaurant in the park because they’re serving food in take out containers?

Yesterday, when these two little puzzlers came up, I opted for the polite and just went with it. Then I felt bad.

In truth, these are teachable moments. For other people and myself. I love that restaurant in the park. I wonder if I said, I can’t eat here because you use take out containers, if they would rethink the issue. If everyone stopped going because we didn’t want to have a side of garbage with our lentil soup, they would have to.

Sustainable Actions
It seems that it takes a lot to make us shift our perspective. Yesterday I blogged about how I am not going to buy certain things once they run out. Right now my list includes aluminum foil, paper towels, napkins, plastic wrap, plastic bags. I was thinking of adding toilet paper in honor of No Impact Man, but I need to see what they actually used — but not giving it up completely if we run out. I thought I’d just make them go without for a day.

As a parent, I want to make my children feel that they are safe and that I can provide for them. I think it’s hard for them to really understand what not having could really mean.

Right now, we think we have a choice to be green. Or how green to be. We really aren’t getting in a tangible way how our choice to not be green is a choice to go without. Even I don’t really get it — I’m still whining like a baby that I can’t have a cup of coffee or get take out at lunch.

I think this little “Earth Day”  experiment could help. I haven’t told the kids yet. Stay tuned for their reaction.


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