Guest Post: Meg Gardner: Green Sins, Where Do I Begin?

I admit, the first thing I think when someone mentions “being green” is guilt.  I add it to my long list of things-I-could-be-better-at.  I drive too much.  I don’t buy in bulk enough.  A TV or two is always on.  And so is a light in some random room – usually the one most recently occupied by the middle child.

I have too many green sins to count.  And when I try to count them and work on being greener, I end up feeling even more guilty that I can’t be truly GREEN.

Can anyone?

My uncle is a meteorologist at Cornell University.  He exists in the same circles as many of the folks involved in Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth”.  So of course, after the movie came out, we asked him his point of view.  Is it all really true?  How do we keep it from happening?  What is the best thing I can do from a scientific perspective?   I expected a specific answer.  Avoid doing X.  We output too much of Y.  The biggest problem is Z.  Instead, he said, “The best thing you can do is not exist.”  There!  My guilt.  Simply existing is not being green.

So now, instead of feeling bad about my sins, I choose to feel good about my efforts.  In Toronto, we have an incredible waste collection system.  Black, Blue and Green.  I’m reminded of the green-ness of this effort when I visit my family back in Wisconsin.

greensins

That’s a big garbage can and an itsy bitsy blue recycling bin.  Paper, glass & some (specific) plastic.  No green bin.  (Imagine the look of confusion on my dad’s face when he visits us – I take bets whether a dirty paper towel will land in the right bin)

So when I think about my green-ness, I feel glass half full.  I know I could do better.  But I’m doing better than not doing anything at all.

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Meg Gardner is a Home & Family blogger, and she blogs at Loving Albany.  Her beautiful house was recently featured on Apartment Therapy.  Check it out!

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Confessing Our Green Sins

protect-450596_640Among my friends and family, I kind of have a reputation being pretty green, and I sometimes get asked about my views on this green thing or that.  Recently I was interviewed by a researcher about my eco-friendly practices, and after reviewing the things I do (and don’t do) in favour of the environment, I added that there remain lots of ways I could make my life greener.  The researcher looked up with some surprise and curiosity, and asked me how?  

I realized then that talking about my environmental successes was masking my eco-shortcomings.  But we all have those, the eco-unfriendly things we know we shouldn’t do, but that we do anyway.  This week, 4Mothers are going to confess to their green sins.  Reading Root Simple‘s fantastic post called “Self-Righteousness Fail:  We Bought a Car” (which basically tells you everything), is the perfect kick-off to this week’s environmental misdemeanours as disclosed by yours truly.

One clarifying note:  this week isn’t about dissing the green movement, or waving a white flag to massive ecological degradation.  4Mothers cares about the environment.  We just wanted to talk about some opposite-of-green (what is the opposite of green?) habits that are hard to change,  even when we know they’re bad, as happens in many other areas of our lives.  Who knows?  Maybe this online confessional will plant (notice I did not say “pave”) the way to greener pastures.

Let’s talk about it.