The world is in transition—either burning or flooding. This summer has been especially bad in too many places. Clif and I have decided to take action in our own small way. Being two green beans for a long time, we have always aimed to live lightly, and by American standards, we have a modest lifestyle. For many years, we have been a one-car family, very unusual in this country. We limit our driving. We don’t fly. We recycle. We don’t use plastic straws, at least not most of the time.
But that’s the low-hanging fruit.
To continue with the metaphor, the higher up you go, the harder it gets.
In short, it’s not easy being green, and it would be remiss of me not to write about this issue. Every person has a different situation, and what’s hard for us might not be hard for you, but I suspect there is enough overlap so that our problems are common to many.
But never fear, I have also included possible solutions to our problems.
Item One: Being green is more expensive. Local, organic food costs more, and ditto for electric cars and bikes. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Clif and I have a budget that’s as big as a minute, and we have to be careful not only with our nickles and dimes, but also with our pennies. For us, this is a large obstacle that must be dealt with creatively.
Solution: Lucky for me, I can cook. I am not a gourmet chef by any means, but I’m a good home cook who has mastered the basics. My immediate plan is to bake from scratch—even more than I do now—so that most of our bread and other goodies come from my kitchen.
Item Two: We live in a world of packaging. The next time you go grocery shopping, take a good look at what’s in your cart. Note the boxes, the plastic, the foil, and various other wrappings. Cereal, milk, cheese, butter, eggs. Shampoo. Laundry detergent. Everything comes in a package and must either be discarded or recycled. And now that China is no longer accepting much of our plastic trash, recycling has gotten more difficult.
Possible solution: We will be making a greater effort to buy food that isn’t packaged. Not too far from where we live is the Gardiner Co-op. They sell bulk items and will let customers bring in their own containers. We will be giving this a shot very soon. I also plan to check with Hannaford to see if they will let us use our own containers for bulk items.
Item Three: Being green is not convenient. Or, we want to go where we want to go, and in this country, for most of us, that involves driving. You want to go to a movie? Get in your car. Visit with friends and family? Get in your car. Go shopping? Travel? Get in your car, or even worse, fly. This is a very tough nut for Clif and I to crack. The town we live in—Winthrop—is beautiful but not exactly dynamic when it comes to anything cultural. We do have museums, cinemas, and theaters in nearby towns, but going to any of things involves driving as we don’t have much in the way of public transportation.
Short term solution: Bike as much as we can and limit our driving. Longer term solution: We would like to buy an electric car, and every year, the technology improves. But even then, we need to be mindful about how much energy we use.
There. That’s enough for now. I’d love to hear from all of you about your problems with being green and your solutions.