I find it a bit ironic that I have dedicated the past month to events that focus on sustainable living, yet my life at home has been anything but. By all outward appearances I am a green guru. Planning a local foods cooking competition; touring the elementary school garden with Will Allen; hosting screenings of Fresh, Food Inc, and No Impact Man; CSA farm tours; Earth Day concert; Earth Fair; Green Expo. When in reality I am scarfing down sugary processed cereal and soda for breakfast; have not given more than a sideways glance at my garden; fed my family more frozen food than I care to admit; gave in to the temptation of meat; enjoyed the convenience of using the dryer; threw food scraps in the trash rather than compost; starved my worms; unapologetically used an entire box of kleenex; left my computer on for a week straight; cranked up the heat; idled in the drive-through; took my car for short trips... the list of eco-sins goes on and on. Under normal circumstances I am a very eco-conscious person, but when stressed, rushed, or sick all eco-bets are off. Why is that?
I think that is my biggest challenge. It is not eating local or organic, avoiding plastic, taking my own bags, cooking from scratch, seeking out phantom power, freezing my buns off, making my own cleaning products, line drying my clothes, or any of the other million decisions we make on a daily basis. It is sticking with those decisions when times get tough.
When every hanky in the house is soaking wet with snot I just want something soft and dry against my skin. Twenty minutes and two box of tissues later, I have decimated a forest and wasted countless gallons of water in the process. I have not used the heat on my dryer in over a year - until this month. Looking back it seems silly since the weather has been unseasonably warm. I do not think we have had a day under 60 degrees since February and rain, what rain? No excuse not to hang my clothes on the line and enjoy some sunshine while doing it. Still I was pressed for time and the laundry was mounting, so I copped out and in the dryer they went. I am sure when the electric bill comes it will be a harsh reminder of why I gave it up in the first place. Food was the hardest hit area this past month and always seems to be the first to go. Home-cooked meals gave way to processed, packaged, frozen food and overpriced meals out. Not to mention all the extra packaging and waste that goes along with it, as evident by the increase in our trash.
How do you hold to your eco-values and keep your sanity when just getting through the day seems like a chore?