Yes, it's spring, and I've finally crawled out from hibernation to add a new post to my "new" blog.
The number one emailed article at the New York Times today is about a couple and their small child going to eco-extremes in a year-long experiment in living green. To wit: they will not buy any food that hasn't been grown within a 250-mile radius of NYC and they will not buy anything besides that food. They will also not use any carbon-fuelled transportation (elevators included) or produce any trash (they are composting IN their apartment). Among the food items that are banished (or will be once they run out): olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spices! They dine by the light of candles and one fluorescent bulb. And scooter or walk to work and everywhere else.
I admire their commitment (and of others who are doing similar things), I do. I've been singing the praises of the environmentally-enlightened (and rightful U.S President) Al Gore since 1992. I am honestly seriously concerned about global warming, and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I consider "skeptics" to be the equivalent of people who still believe the earth is flat.
But it's hard to walk the talk.
I do what I can--I've stopped being a huge-ass hypocrite by switching to Metro instead of driving to work. I telecommute one day about every other week. My car is 7years old and has not-quite 50,000 miles on it. There are now new windows in my house, which means I can actually open them and not used the "fan" setting on my AC (more on that later). I have central air now instead of two noisy electricity-hogging window units. I recycle! And I kinda hate fast food and massive chain operations.
However, there are some things that I refuse to give up for the sake of the earth. Here's my list--I tried to rank them, but honestly, they're all pretty important:
I will not stop eating meat--I try to buy organic and local if I can and I don't eat veal (OK that's really about the meanness of it), but dammit I love me some good lamb once in a while. Or a big juicy grilled steak (charcoal not gas).
I will not stop eating seafood--I've done the swordfish ban, and I know most of the world's fish are being rapidly depleted, but I've gotta get my protein somewhere! I'll try to focus on the less over-fished species, but don't take away my omega-3s.
I will not sweat it out without air-conditioning--OK, I know this is a big one, but people it is hot and so fraking humid in DC in the summertime. I can cut down but don't cut me off! It's a shameless excuse, but I really do get light-headed when it's really hot out (I know, lame.)
I will not wear ugly clothing--Look. I'm not extravagant. I can't afford designer clothes (which actually is probably less energy-intensive), which means relatively mass-produced off the rack. But I'm working on the whole "less is more" thing. And I don't know which is less energy-intensive to produce: natural items or synthetics, but I do know this: it can't be tacky and I am not wearing hemp.
I will not stop buying music--But I will cut down on waste by buying virtually (ha) all of my music online. And I am keeping all of my forms of Bono and the boys--all the CDs with cracked cases, the concert DVDs and duplicate online files. Yes, I did actually download AND buy the physical CD of "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb."
I will not give up my TV--Something has to distract me from the destruction of the Earth and the sick joke that is the Bush administration. And my TV isn't very big--just 24 inches and a little tiny one in my room. Yes, I do read--a lot, but a world where I never experienced the X-Files or Buffy? Veronica Mars? Scrubs or the Office (UK and US)? Be reasonable.
I will not stop drinking wine--Actually, wine is produced within a 250-mile radius of my house. However, if you know anything about wine, you'll know that much of Virginia's wine is not just bad, it's damn near unrecognizable as wine. And I really like a lot of wine from New Zealand and Australia. And Argentina, Spain, Austria…OK, I'll try to mix some Oregon and Washington wines in there. And one of my Italian great-uncles used to make his own wine…
I will not stop traveling to far-flung places--I want to see New Zealand and Australia. Bali and Southeast Asia. Argentina and Brazil. Maybe India. Various parts of the US. And how can I not go back to Italy? It's in my blood! I've seen the stats on how wasteful air-travel is, but honestly I don't get to do it that often. In the past few years it's only been a few times a year and in some years, none at all. My only excuse is that seeing the rest of the Earth leads me to want to save it. It's a whole balance thing, I know.
And finally, I will not stop using toilet paper--One of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring parts of the Times article was that these people have stopped using toilet paper. I cannot. If forced to chose, I would give up toilet paper for some of the other items on this list, but I don't see it happening any time soon. Don't have room for a bidet. Don't think they are all that effective anyway.
Forgive me, Al. I remain your dedicated but deeply flawed supporter.