I just realized how close attention you have to pay after I blithely bought an organic red pepper and when I got it home, S looked at the sticker and said "You bought a pepper grown in Holland?" Yeah. Currently organic bell peppers in our grocery stores are grown in Holland. How green is that?
For this next segment, I thought I'd take a look at what I do on a regular basis to see how I stack up in the greenness of it all.
1. Buying products from a local store (In Season Local Market) which only sources products from a 250 mile radius. Advantage: Grass-fed beef, pasture raised eggs, pasture raised chicken, and other sustainably raised or produced products. Disadvantage: I have to make an extra trip to the store since they don't carry enough other products for me to do all my shopping here, thus using more fuel.
2. Buying mostly organic foods, and eating less processed foods (i.e. mix fresh berries with plain yogurt rather than buy mixed yogurts, and take it easy on the chips!) Advantage: Less pesticides/herbicides contaminating the soil and groundwater supply, not to mention my liver. Also, supports the organic movement and more sustainable farming practices. Disadvantage: Red bell pepper from Holland. Somehow, I don't think that pepper being grown organically offsets all the other effects of it's transport.
3. Using natural cleaning/beauty products. Advantage: Less synthetic chemicals going down the drain to the treatment plant, or sticking around my house. Also, they smell nice, it was really my sensitive nose that finally gave me the push to drop the 4-0-9 and start using flowery natural cleaners. Disadvantage: Expensive! Especially cosmetics! Ugh, it's tough to shell out $25-35 for foundation.
3. I drive a hybrid. Advantage: I use less fossil fuel and support alternative fuels. Disadvantage: I am not entirely sure about the hybrid cycle and have been a little to lazy to extensively research, I have to admit. Anyway, I think the battery is recyclable at the end of it's design life, but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure if they have to use rare metals in the battery thus contributing to mining demand.
4. Our front and back yards are xeriscaped. Advantage: low water usage, and we get compliments on our front yard all the time! Disadvantage: well we have a concrete back yard thanks to the former homeowner. Not particularly desirable for a little kid.
5. Cloth diapering. Advantage: Less landfill waste that will take tens of thousands of years to degrade. Disadvantage: It's a pain when out and about, so we're still using some disposables. The day care won't even consider using cloth...so we'll probably be 50% cloth in a few months.
6. Occasionally shop at consignment stores or buy used (especially the baby stuff). Advantage: Recycling and less expensive clothes. Disadvantage: You have to do it much more often than I do to really find good stuff. Plus, I'm a sucker for new clothes and good sales and the instant gratification of online ordering. So, really, I'm not that good at it.
7. Recycle. It's easy for us since trash removal and recycling are included in our taxes where we live. Plus, we don't have to separate recycling, it all goes into one bin.
8. Shopping with reusable bags. Been trying to for years. Finally, I actually remember them most of the time.
9. Buy locally made beer. Hey, but that's easy. I live in Colorado. ;-)
I'd say those are the main things I do but there's so many things I don't do. Plus there's the things I definitely do to counteract all my green practices. Like:
1. Letting S buy a diamond for my engagement ring. Hello, mining, exploitation, etc etc...and we might as well throw in any jewelry I have that contains a precious or semi-precious stone for that matter, and gold and silver and...oh, well it's just a losing battle at this point.
2. Drinking French wines, Spanish wines, Argentinian wines, Chilean wines, Australian wines, Californian wines. Pretty much every wine except Colorado wines. Still haven't met a Colorado wine I like or I think is worth the price.
4. Travel on a plane several times a year. This is a big one. Huge. It kills any greenness you think you have...now if they could only figure out how to fly a plane using unicorns and rainbows we'd be set.
5. Almost every manufactured good I buy is from another country. I could try harder to buy products manufactured in the US, but I tend to choke on the price. Again, this one is huge considering the transportation involved. I'd bring up environmental standards too, but I'm not sure what they are here what with administrations changing it up depending on who's in office, forget other countries' policies.
6. A good portion of our furniture has particle board in it. That has all kinds of nasty resins to hold it together. Don't get me started on my supposed "all wood" baby crib. That thing stunk up the house for at least a week. Ok, so maybe it was the paint, but painting the entire room did not result in the same type of off-gassing as that crib.
Gee...need I go on? I haven't even gotten to plastics yet! I think I'll stop here, as I'm starting to sound all gloom and doomy, and that wasn't really the point. I'm wondering....
How green are you?