Friday, September 11, 2009

My green life and my ungreen vices

In preparation for a post I've been mentally planning about how and why we choose to make healthy lifestyle changes of one kind but not another, or at one time but not another, I am compiling a list of the things that I've chosen to do to live healthier and more environmentally friendly, versus the things that I still do that I KNOW are unhealthy. This is a more generalized follow-up to my "items in my freezer" post, which was a concrete list of things that showed foods we keep and eat that are healthy and some that are not (i.e. frozen pizza and peanut butter cup ice cream).

Healthy and Green:
cloth diapers
cloth wipes
home-made baby food
vegetable garden
home food preserving
cloth mama pads
cloth napkins
reusable grocery bags
reusable glass and metal food containers
walking to the store sometimes
natural cleaning products
automatic thermostat
clothesline drying sometimes

eat fast food sometimes - why do Big Macs taste so good to me?
toilet paper - getting close to switching to cloth, at least for pee
drive a car to get around - baby isn't big enough for a helmet for safe bike transportation yet
buy some pre-made foods/meals - I do sometimes order pizza when the baby's having a hard day and we don't have time or energy to cook
buy new clothes often - I LOVE LOVE LOVE Banana Republic, a big vice for me
often forget reusable grocery bags - even when they're in the trunk of the car!
use the dryer - lazy, don't plan ahead enough
eat meat most days - yum yum
don't always buy organic
let some food in my garden go to waste
lots of green updates not done in our house

I've read a few threads on my favorite online discussion forums about this very thing. One thread title was something to do with being "soggy" as opposed to fully crunchy. Like, "he is so crunchy granola!" describing our friend who doesn't drive, has backyard chickens, and only eats local. Compared to that I am somewhat soggy granola. What do you think of these terms? What do you do that is healthy and green and what vices are you still sticking with? WHY do you think you've changed some things but not others? I'd love to hear about where other people are with some of these things, and any hypotheses about why.


  1. Impressive list! You're not so soggy!

    One of my challenges is plastic. I want to use less and I definitely don't want it in my baby's mouth. But let's just say, I don't live in a plastic-free zone right now. I also need to weather-proof my front door, but I've let two winters pass without doing so. Ugh!

    Many of the green changes I've made over the years were compelled by thriftiness. That's why I handwash dishes, line dry, buy used clothes, and use cloth diapers. Other choices just feel more natural, like breastfeeding, home birth, and alternative medicine. By and large, I live simply, because it's the good life! I love riding my bike and walking and hate sitting in traffic; I love cooking and eating fresh, healthy food; and I'm just not so crazy about shopping.

    In other words, I tend to be motivated toward living in a better, healthier way, rather than in reaction to a huge and overwhelming problem, like global warming.

    If you want reinforcement for your desire not to eat fast food, you might check out Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser or Omnivore's Dilemma by Micheal Pollan. I thought both were excellent.

    Interesting conversation topic! I'm looking forward to seeing what others have to say.

  2. Thanks for sharing, and for the tips on fast food avoidance motivation!
    Plastic is definitely a challenge for us too. I have been converting to glass and metal food containers, but we have so many plastic baby toys, plastic water bottles, and plastic bags, just to name a few things. The baby toys are one of the hardest things for me, because so many are gifts, and Sweet Pea likes them! You can't be perfect, I guess!

  3. I also have many ungreen vices. I think if I tried to be perfect it would be too overwhelming and I might just give up, so I try to be happy that I've been able to make some green choices. I also think it makes living green seem more moderate, so that when other people see you making green choices easily and happily, they feel like they could do it too - which could have more impact in the long run. Maybe this is just rationalizations for the things I don't want to give up yet though! I also happen to have a soft spot for banana republic:) And I waste a lot of water.