Sunday, March 1, 2009

How I Got Green

How's that for a grammatically incorrect title?

In the rural south, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle doesn't fit the Redneck philosophy unless you consider reusing a toilet or old tire as lawn art.

We all know green is in. My friends know I don't usually like fads until they're almost out. So it takes me a while to like things...I'm just now able to stomach those humongous sunglasses.

Yet I find myself a little ahead of the game in the green department (well, for a Republican small town Southerner anyway!). This left even me scratching my head, so I've been thinking about how I arrived here. Just for clarification-here is defined as the state of desiring simplicity, natural foods, cleaners and meds if possible, wastelessness, and good stewardship.

When I married, I didn't like the idea of artificial hormones as birth control so we used NFP. This might be the first step in a more natural lifestyle. Childbirth methods followed (still in a hospital, but no epidural-but bring on the opiates!). I breastfed all our girls, and not just for a few months. After a few years, we discovered whole foods eating but were otherwise average Americans in everything else. As a matter of fact, I was so staunchly pro-immunization at that point I am sure any parents behind on their child's immunizations could see the smoke coming from my ears as I fumed about their negligence.

As we added more children, I grew more comfortable with midwife assisted births, although I never had one. I learned that our "natural" parenting philosophy had a name (attachment parenting) and I was exposed to many VERY green lifestyle choices. Some of these are quite wild-like not only cloth diapers, but cloth feminine products (in addition to the Diva Cup and similar items), and family cloth. After our second child was a toddler, I really started to dig in and study immunizations. We've since selected a delayed/selective immunization plan.

Most recently, I've been introduced to the crazy idea of living without paper towels! I already try to keep paper plates and cups to a minimum, but no paper towels? Well, I've tried to use less but I don't know how I could go without. I'm also more aware of the issues with plastic water bottles, plastic bags, and dishes (I now own two Klean Kanteens thanks to my bank's Reward Points). I'd like to use reusable shopping bags but honestly am a little self conscious about it. I want to buy some of the groovy bags from Central Market-maybe their cuteness will motivate me to fight the pride.

For me, the bottom line is more about saving money for our family and giving my family the best food we can afford (not organic at this moment, but not prepackaged junk either). I hate spending so much money on paper goods that only end up in the trash (toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, feminine products, paper plates...). And before you start thinking it's not that much, after all, remember our family size and consider how much toilet paper a house full of girls uses!

It stings a little that my desired lifestyle collides with the most liberal folks on the planet. Hey, it even stings that I now have one tiny area I'm sorta trendy in. Why is it the conservatives, Christians, and Republicans tend to lean so far away from good stewardship of the environment and our personal resources? I confess for me it was that I didn't want to identify myself with tree huggers and Al Gore. Or PETA. So I felt no remorse in running the other way. Yet somehow, I've run into myself heading the other way.

What do you think of all the green fads? Where are you on the green scale? Or do you just want instructions on how to build a flower potty?


D Unstoppable Mom said...

OK, You said it is good stewardship of what the Lord has provided. I love most of it. I love the reusable shopping bags, but rarely use them...because I forget them. I already have stopped using paper plates, but because they are now cost prohibitive. Water is still cheaper!!! I tried no paper towels. That was too hard for us, so I still use them. I considered reusable femine products, the yuck factor stopped me. I think I know what the family cloth is and that has the very yuck factor!!
As far as've seen my shirt haven't ya? PETA...means People Eating Tasty Animals!!!
I am pro green in most capacities, but definatley not legalistic about it!!

Luke said...

I still don't understand those humongous sunglasses... at all. I guess I've seen one or two girls who look okay in them, but most of the time I think, 'Why would you want to look like you have bug eyes?'

...hmm... or maybe it's an anime thing? What with the huge eyes and all.

I don't particularly like the "go green" fad because of it's rather political nature. And I'm extremely skeptical on this mad-made global warming bit. But I am all for good stewardship and caring for our environment. I love recycling--but I do wish I had more evidence that it actually made a positive difference.


Supermom2JakeAndEmmy said...

It's hard for a large family in today's society to go 100% green. I should know. We try - we buy the squiggly bulbs, turn the lights off, limit our TP use to six sheets. But on other things, I'm kinda like D. For one thing, as much as I would love to use cloth diapers on Jake, I can't afford the start-up cost. And Em still has night-issues, for which they don't make cloth diapers for. Also, the feminine hygene thing kinda icks me too.

That being said, I use all-natural cleaning products, and most of the time try to use vinegar and baking soda when I can. I only use paper towels when I absolutly have to, and then we recycle the tubes for crafts. I have a filtered water pitcher and two water bottles, so we don't have to buy bottled water. I wish that Bowie had city recycling, like other towns. I grew up in a town that had trash pick up day and recycling pick up day. Bowie could do this if enough people made a stink about it, I bet.

And PETA . . . don't get me started on those hypocrits . . .