Extreme Green - Our Daily Green

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Extreme Green

Yesterday, I read a story about a new car powered by methane from human sewage.  My first reaction was "no thanks", but then I got closer to thinking to "why not"?

One of the essential elements of the green movement is to challenge our comfort zones. I've heard people say, "I'm busy, I don't have time to separate my trash", at a party as I try to separate the aluminum out of the clean up bags. I've heard the argument that "global warming" is just left wing propoganda and that it really doesn't matter anyway. Truthfully, I'm not a scientist and the conflicting reports remind me that you can find a statistic to say anything you want to hear. I'd just prefer not to politicize a love of the planet.

I began to consider some of the hyper-eco heroes we've seen in the headlines. Colin Beavan's No Impact Project immediately comes to mind. Mr. Beavan and his family spent a year living with "no impact" by buying nothing except for locally grown food, walking or biking everywhere, and creating zero impact by offsetting everything they did with an ecofriendly offset. I've not had a chance to see the documentary, but it has a national television premier, August 28th on Planet Green (click here for the trailer).

Another inspiring story is Amy and Adam Korst, with their Green Garbage Project. From July 6, 2009 to July 6, 2010 they conserved and documented every single piece of trash they generated. They made conscious steps to produce zero trash. At the end of they year, the trash they had fit in a SHOEBOX. Consider that the next 52 weeks when you wheel your full garbage can to the curb for trash collection.

These are only two examples of the sort of folks I consider "extreme greenies". They are going beyond mindfulness and into full fledged activism. I am inspired, but also the first to admit, I don't think I could do what they've done.

In a recent conversation with my pastor, (while he was talking more about our spiritual paths), he challenged me to choose one thing that I am completely comfortable doing and one thing that I am uncomfortable doing. I thought to apply this to my ever increasing choices to live green.

There are a lot of areas of complete comfort in my greening of my life. I compost kitchen scraps, I dry clothing on a line, I wash in cold water, I use(d) cloth diapers, buy thrift clothing, blah blah blah. I even have walked an occasional errand. (truthfully, where I live the roads are unsafe for bikers, but I can walk in a ditch and avoid crazy drivers that way).  I also use reusable female products after an embarrassing service call from the Roto-Rooter man. Perhaps that is TMI, but there is nothing like being told "those really shouldn't be flushed" by a stranger holding a bucketful of a years' worth of such items to make someone get over the squeamish factor.

I began to consider the choices I am not comfortable making. I recently read an article about living without toilet paper. No. I cannot go there. We only eat out about twice a month and I cringe when our overly generous portions of food are slung into styrofoam containers for us to take back home. Would I take my own containers to the restaurants? Hmmm, that does challenge my comfort zone, a lot. I'm not an aggressive ambassador for green living. I do it for me, but other than writing the blog, I let other people make up their own mind. This would take my greening into the world. Maybe it's time. I'll think about it. One other comfort zone challenge is the shampoo free one, the challenge to not use chemical shampoos on my hair. It sounds like a pain, but using cloth diapers did at one time, also.

The point Our Daily Green wants to make is simple. We all know where we draw the line personally. Today, I'm going to challenge you the same way I've been challenged. Pick one practice you are comfortable adapting and one that makes you a little uncomfortable. Start doing both of them. See what you can do that makes you comfortable and see what pushes your comfort zone. Before long your boundaries expand and you've adopted a new behavior.

Tell me, friends, where do you draw the line? Consider what you could do instead. Perhaps instead of going "toilet paper free" you may go to one ply, or recycled tp, or just to use less sheets. Incidentally, putting it on the roll over saves paper, also. Yes, it's proven. Maybe splitting a meal at a restaurant so there are no leftovers to contend with. Maybe showering every other day (using half the water and shampoo) instead of daily. The point of "extreme" green is to inspire us to reach higher. Unlike an Olympic runner, I will never win a gold medal, but that doesn't mean I cannot lace up running shoes and jog.

Our Daily Green would love to hear about what you decide and the behaviors you decide to adopt (as well as not adopt)... Happy Greening!

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Joe's blog said...

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Michelle said...

Great post! We have really simplified our lives over the past year, and love it. You would be surprised how easy it really is once you start. Baby steps in the beginning, but then you begin to see more areas where you can down size, simplify, or just do without. It really is liberating!

Michelle @ greenearthbazaar.com

Stephanie - Green SAHM said...

The story about the plumber made me think about a similar problem we had to have a plumber out at a condo we had just rented less than a month before. I was six months pregnant, and he started to give me the lecture about how I shouldn't have flushed those. I just gave him a look and pointed out my condition and how recently we'd moved in.

I do the no shampoo thing. Took a while to get used to, works great for me. I use baking 1 tbs baking soda in a cup of water first, then rinse with diluted vinegar. Works great, and it's kind of fun to scent the vinegar with lavender essential oil. That smell sticks just a little, while the vinegar smell goes away more quickly.

Kim said...

Welcome Stephanie! I was reading your blog and bit and had to laugh about your "Dharma & Greg" life (that's me and my spouse... the hippie and the business guy)... My husband & I made a deal abt. the chemical fertilizer; he gets the lawn, but the garden is off limits. One year I had him use organic fertilizer and our yard smelled like a cow pasture. For me it was an idyllic outdoorsy smell... for him? not so much! Just keep trying, right?