Monday, December 15, 2008

Is it bad...

Green, green green. Green green. Green.

I live in the South, so the earth-friendly movement took a little bit longer to reach us down here. But JB is particularly interested in doing his part for the environment, and it has rubbed off on me (for which I am thankful).

I don't know that we're any more or less green than most people around the country. Thanks in large part to JB, we've made easy changes that I can certainly live with. We've been composting for about a year now (yard clippings and non-meat table scraps/peelings), and also bring our own reusable shopping bags to Publix during our biweekly grocery shopping trips. We do the curbside recycling that our city provides, but also save styrofoam, glass and cardboard (which is not allowed in the curbside bin) and take it to the city recyclery. We're using compact fluorescent bulbs, I take my own coffee mug to work instead of using the office-provided styrofoam, etc. etc.

But I still feel guilty about some things. I have in-laws and extended family members who are VERY green, and some of their practices make me feel like a trash-creating consumer monster. Especially around the holidays. So here I'm airing my dirty little not-so-earth-friendly secrets. Don't hate me...

Is it bad that I love to use gorgeous wrapping paper and bows to wrap Christmas presents rather than sew my own reusable gift bags from organic cotton?

Is it bad that I prefer the golden light of incandesant bulbs to the institutional glare of compact fluorescent bulbs (and no, the "soft wite" CFLs are NOT the same thing).

Is it bad that I'm not handmaking all of my presents and gifting them in old plastic peanut butter jars that I washed out and saved?

Is it bad that we bought Christmas cards this year that aren't made from recycled material and will be sending them to lots of people instead of doing an impersonal e-card?

Is it bad that I love receiving catalogs?

Is it bad that I buy at least a few new decorations each year instead of only reusing what I already have?

Is it bad that my Christmas list contains practically no requests for earth-friendly items?

Is it bad that I use refined white sugar in my holiday baked goods?

The answer to at least a few of these is likely a resounding yes, but I'm going to be real here. Being green should not mean sucking the fun out of a holiday. Or out of any day, for that matter. I think the best way to save the environment is to make small steps you can live with...and move up from there.

I don't like CFLs, but we're using them.

I use some brand-new wrapping paper, but reuse gift bows and bags from previous years.

I buy a few new decorations, but also clip berries and branches from our yard to decorate the house.

I bought brand-new Christmas cards this year, but I'm cutting up old ones to use as cute gift tags.

Do I get a cookie? Of course not. But you get the idea.

And can I just rant for a second, and say that looking down your nose at someone you don't think "does enough for the environment" or playing the eco-friendly one-upmanship game is not cool. I know too many people who do this. Just applaud people for making whatever small earth-friendly decisions they can, encourage them and best of all, lead (silently) by example.


BBJD said...

Good morning, AC.

Is it bad...list. The answer to at least a few of these is a resounding yes.

I believe you are right. Only - which are the bad ones? (smiles) I'm guilty of matching you on six items from your list.

Corey said...

I think you are doing a lot more than most people! And buying new decorations helps the economy :)

Casey said...

Wow! That's all I've got to say. Wanna feel better about yourself? you should step into our house and see how lack of "green" we are. Is there an opposite for being green? Does it count if my recyling is reusing the plastic grocery bags from the grocery store to pick up Cherokee's "waste" when we run around the neighborhood? he,he,he