Thursday, October 28, 2010

Green to you and green to me ... perhaps we see quite differently

Photo courtesy of Heather Desuta
It is an absolutely beautiful morning in Western Pennsylvania. A perfect day for stripping the bed, washing the sheets and getting them up on the line. That is where mine are right now. Do you hang your wash on the line to let the sun and wind dry it? Or do you throw them in the dryer, even on perfect days like today, and use gas or electricity to do the job? If you answered 'yes' to the latter, do you actually consider yourself "green?" How can that be?

There are reasons why I'm asking these questions, and while it may seem I am questioning your commitment to caring for the environment, you will understand where I am going with this in just a moment.

Yesterday, a man who apparently reads my blog, for whatever reason, tried to egg me on into an argument. First he tried by flashing a Halloween decoration in my face. When that did not stir a reaction, he started on me about stinkbugs, challenging me as to how I can kill one of God's creatures? How can that work when I am the Green Grandma? How can I advise others on ways to kill something that is part of the environment?

He tried, but failed, to get me going. After all, I knew he could care less about the stinkbugs. He just wanted to argue with me.

It is funny how people who try to make a difference become targets for criticism on a daily basis. We are watched so closely. Just ask any minister and they will concur. People like to prove other people wrong. Some seem to thrive on it, always looking for ways to start an argument, to trip someone up. It makes me weary.

On Tuesday I posted my recipe for sausage stew, knowing full well that someone in the Vegan community would probably challenge me on it. I was not disappointed. Naturally, I was accused of not being truly 'green' because I eat meat.

Let me tell you something...there is not a single one of us that lives a truly green life. The second you get in your car and turn on the engine, you are doing your part to harm the environment. How about when you climb in hot bath, filled to the top, or take an extra long shower? Did you cook dinner last night? Did you grab the food from your refrigerator or freezer? Did you slap a disposable diaper on your baby's bottom?

Let me repeat myself: None of us live genuinely green lives. We just don't.

Does that mean we shoudn't try in whatever way we can to be a little more environmentally conscious? Of course not.

There are the basics -- the easy things we can all do. Recycling. Turning off lights, televisions, radios, etc. when they are not in use. Unplugging appliances. Limiting waste. Etc., etc., etc. Common sense things.

And then there are the other things we find ourselves called to focus on. Cloth diapers. Riding a bicycle or walking to work. Not eating meat. Growing organic vegetables. Raising awareness of toxins. Etc., etc., etc.

It is all different for all of us. That is why I decided to repost my Going Green poem, just a reminder to those of you who see me as failing in one area or another, that we're all in this together. I do my thing and you do yours. And as I have said many times: every drop in the bucket matters.

Going Green

Green to you
And green to me
Perhaps we see
Quite differently

Perhaps to you
Green’s kind of blue
A teal-ish kind of
Crayon stew

While green to me
Comes from my heart
Cloth grocery bags
Are just a start

Or light bulbs
In peculiar shapes
Or hanging up
Some thermal drapes

But when my green
Gets really sticky
Is when I wash
Cloth diapers – icky

I hang them up
On lines to dry
Save the earth?
I really try

Is so passé
Recycle now
Don’t throw away

The landfills
Soon will overflow
With diapers, trash
And things that glow

With plastic bottles
Glass and cans
Old TVs
And broken fans

The time is now
To do our part
Let’s go for green
At least, let’s start

-- Hana Haatainen Caye

May not be reprinted without written permission 

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