Normal Green People

You may have picked this up from some of my past few posts (or from my Books page), but I’ve been in a little bit of a “green” phase lately.  I’ve actuallykept this as my dirty little secret for a while because, well, lots of green people are weird, and I don’t want you to think that about me.  I have not been doing anything TOO crazy, just making little changes here and there as we’re trying to eat more naturally and make less trash.  I’m motivated by the underlying principles of living more simply and being a good steward of our money, health, and yes, the environment.

I’m trying not to just jump on the green bandwagon, but to strike a reasonable balance between ideals and reality, between at-home and on-the-run living, between conservation and excess.  It’s complicated, and I want to figure out a sustainable lifestyle for our family, based on thoughtfully-formed priorities and values.  But it seems like just as I get excited about our new “light green” life, I come across a person or a blog that makes me skittish.

I wonder if I’ve embarked on a slippery slope.  A couple of years from now, will I have become one of those crunchy green women, wearing no makeup, letting my underarm hair grow free, clothing myself in long calico skirts and clunky, sensible shoes.  I’m not quite ready to be like one blogger on cleaning out her pantry: “Hooray, I found a couple more jars of my home-canned beet jelly!”  Or another: “Let’s talk today about making your own washable baby wipes and toilet paper.”

I envision Abby sitting in her elementary school cafeteria wearing ill-fitting homemade clothing and unpacking her lunch: leafy and brightly colored vegetables zipped in washable mesh produce bags, free-range chicken wrapped in an organic whole wheat pita, a peach for dessert.  What will she think when she watches her classmates consume their lunches of peanut butter-and-marshmallow-cream sandwiches, Doritos, and Ding-Dongs?  (Will she even have classmates, or will I have to keep her at home all day to help me gather the eggs and churn the butter?)

So I’m exaggerating a little, but I’m kind of serious.  I haven’t seen many examples of normal green people.  But I hope it’s possible, because I’m hoping to be one.  Hello!  Are you out there?

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7 responses to “Normal Green People

  1. I’m here! It’s totally possible to be a “normal” green person!

  2. We’re out here! I’m sure most people would say that California is rubbing off on us, but mostly we want to save money. So for us, being “green” means turning off lights, lightning candles, air-drying our clothes (only fluffing just before they are completely dry), and recently selling both of our cars and buying a Prius that we share. But I also find myself looking at packaging, cutting down on my use of Ziplocs, and staying away from bottled water. I highly recommend “No Impact Man” — it’s out there, but will make you think about what you can reasonably do in your own life to be kind to the earth.

  3. In the words of Kermie, “It’s not easy being green.”

  4. I found this post through Small Notebook and love it :) I’ve been finding myself drawn to greener and greener practices over the past year or two, myself. (I wrote a little blog post about it: http://lifeblessons.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-going-green-looks-like-for-me.html)

    For me, I find that a lot of the “green” practices are simpler and more fuss-free. Like I switched to a homemade baking-soda shampoo instead of the storebought kind, because the homemade one works BETTER than the storebought. Yes, it’s also better for me and for the environment, but it’s just better in general. And that’s something that I love! I think we’ve made ourselves believe things have to be so much more difficult and involved than they really do!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  5. I think I’m one and have been for years- I guess most of the “green” aspects of my life-style have become exactly that- a part of my life- and I just don’t talk about them?blog about them much any more. A few examples of how we try to live greener at our house: cloth napkins, no paper plates (except for MC’s bday party, use Laptop lunch boxes instead of ziplock baggies, no individual package groceries, try to buy mostly “whole” ingredients and not pre-packaged meals, natural or organic groceries, farmer’s market veggies, cloth shopping bags pretty much everywhere (not just at wal-mart), try to buy second-hand when I can, drive less or try to plan routes so that I make it as efficient as possible, no handouts at school (everything is on line now), etc. The list goes on and on- mostly simple things. I don’t grow my own veggies or raise chickens (yet). I don’t think that living within our resources and as a good steward of the earth means that we have become a walking stereo-type of bad fashion and poor personal hygiene. I will always color my hair, wear deodorant and perfume, buy cute shoes, and shave! I think that we owe it to ourselves and our culture to redefine what the “normal” green family looks like. I think the Watsons should be the poster children!

  6. I am so totally with you. I bought stuff to make my own deodorant, but never made it. I buy organic veggies and then they go bad before I can use them. You should watch the documentary “No Impact Man”. It is very interesting!

  7. Thanks for the show of solidarity, friends! Now I feel like I’m in GOOD company, not entering Crazyville.

    @ Katie- Saving money is a huge “green” motivator for us, too…

    @ Elizabeth- I have not tried baking powder shampoo, but I agree that often the simpler choice is better all around. I love it when the right decision is so obvious!

    @ Amy- No crystal deodorant, yet? Let me know when you get there.

    @ Teresa- I actually was intrigued by a blog post about homemade deodorant, but then I talked myself out of it. If you get around to trying it (you know, in all your spare time), let me know how it goes!

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