going chartreuse

I try to live as 'green' as I possibly can. With some exceptions. I reuse plastic ziploc bags. I ride my bike as much as I can. I wash my clothes in cold water. I use CFLs. I don't buy things that come in plastic bottles—instead I take my Nalgene® bottles with me and use them for water or fountain soda. My recycling bin is much more full than my trash can every week. If it's yellow, I definitely let it mellow. I bought a small house so that I would have a smaller carbon footprint. There are lots of things that I do that aren't environmentally friendly, but I do what I can and still remain sane.

Recently, I've started reading Mother Jones—a decidedly liberal leaning 'news' publication. I haven't bought a subscription yet largely because I feel like I'm uselessly killing trees with every magazine I read. I don't keep them, you see, I just toss them into the recycling when I'm done.

This latest issue is a lengthy treatise about why organic food and the environmentally-conscious lifestyle maybe aren't all the hype machine has pimped them out to be. And, while I realize that theirs is only one voice in a sea of billions, it's hard not to take some of their points to heart. But the problem is, it's made me start thinking about every. single. thing I do and how every single thing I thought I was doing correctly and was good for the Earth, may not be all that great after all. Like did you know that buying locally isn't necessarily all that great because local farmers combined together actually produce more carbon emissions than the large-scale farmers, even though the large-scale farmers have to ship their goods a further distance? And did you know that the production of bio-fuels ends up being more harmful to the planet's indigenous species than regular petroleum extraction?

All of it really makes my head hurt. I mean, obviously there are some practices that are better and more sustainable and, of course, I'm still going to recycle my chip board. But I don't like thinking that I have to start conducting a lengthy interview with every farmer I buy from every time I go to the farmer's market. And, I'm sorry, but if I have to start listening to oral arguments from every concerned party about whether buying a certain brand of toilet paper right now is good for the planet or not, I'm just going to stop caring altogether.

In good news, the stock market is up!


e. said...

maybe if you think about buying locally as a good thing, because it supports your local economy--and the small, family farm. and the food you are eating is fresher.

and large-scale farmers are more likely to use immigrant workers who are not paid fairly. and they are also more likely to buy new & larger equipment...rather than repair & reuse old, smaller equipment.

I think that if everyone is doing the best they can, then that's what is good enough.

dylan said...

Personally, I just do my best to behave in a way that I can tolerate given what I know. Giving up sounds as hard to me as continually revising my understanding, and being duped over and over again.

Much of the battle will be fought to acknowledge our struggles and change our values, I think. To me, your art is your greatest contribution.

Michael5000 said...

Oops, now it's down a little!

The biofuels craze struck me as a little nuts. Growing corn on a massive scale is SO energy inefficient, not to mention a questionable use of unrenewable soil.

Really, there's only a tiny tiny bit that you can do with the consumer power of one middle-class dude such as ourselves to affect ANYTHING much. Sounds like you are doing your part. To my way of thinking, if you are also pleasant to the people you meet during the day and, when hassled by an asshole, let the situation defuse instead of escalate, you are doing your part in the world.

d said...

i guess what gets me the most is thinking you're doing something right for the world and then finding out that you're actually not.

but, yes, i think all of you are correct. do what you can and what feels right and go with god.