Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How It All Started

You could say I was born.

I had an odd childhood, a peculiar mix of wealth and privilege (lobster once a week, leg of lamb often, dining on fine china using actual silver flatware, new clothes just because the old were soiled, and champagne on a regular basis - in crystal flutes, no less) and scrabbling-in-the-dirt poverty that often left our heads spinning and our thoughts wandering along the lines of "A Kool-Aid sandwich on stale bread is perfectly nutritious, right?" Which state we were in was determined by whether we lived with the Grandparents (wealthy) or Mum (not at all wealthy).

I often claim I was raised by feral hippies. And Republicans. At the same time.

I had no concept of environment being something one should be concerned about until I was in my teens, but I often picked up litter because it was just rude not to.

I remember swimming off the coast of Florida and having to stop at a tar removal station before we left to beach to get the sticky black stuff off the bottoms of our feet. Bleh.

I am much more aware of the impact of my life on the world around me, now. I know why the tar was there, and that it didn't have to be. I understand about recycling, both for financial and environmental reasons. I never bought into the idea that there were starving children in China who would be happy for the food I was wasting, but at least I understand why waste is folly.

Being Pagan has added a layer of complication to the idea of being green - the Earth is at once my home, one of my Goddesses, and my temple. I really don't want to use up, deface, pollute, and completely ruin any of those sacred things.

Now comes the fun of reconciling the need for my family to live a realistic life with being as green as can be. In a perfect world, this wouldn't be an issue. There are plenty of people in the world who will scoff at my idea that there's a middle ground, a way to minimize impact while still maximizing comfort and ease.

I have been thinking a lot about this very thing.

I really believe that going green is nowhere near mainstream enough, and it should be. If environmentalists want Mr., Mrs., and Mizz Middle America to get on board, they're going to have to find a way to make green affordable, easy, and comfortable. So far, not so good.

It's all well and good for Ed Begley Jr. to crow about his solar panels and all that...quite another for the average homeowner or even renter to install, maintain, and benefit from solar panels.

Not everyone can compost - we don't all have the space, the time, or the inclination, and composting can become expensive if you don't want a pile of waste sprawling all around the landscape.

Recycling can cause as much damage to the environment as waste, considering the pollutants dumped into the air by diesel powered trucks - and reuse isn't always feasible.

My particular branch of the Pagan tree has a rule...our only one, in fact. In plain English it says "As long as you aren't hurting anyone, do what you like." Think about that. Hurt no one. It's not possible. Just by existing, I am hurting someone. My life is a balancing act - how can I mitigate the harm I do?

Going green is much the same - how can I balance what I consume and how it impact my world (and fellow dwellers thereon) and my desire to be comfortable, my inability to raise my own organic foods, use natural materials for home and living? It's nearly impossible to live a modern life without plastic.

In the coming posts, I hope to share ways my family (and the families of my friends) has found to add a little green to our daily lives.


Kit said...

Good idea!!

Oho, methinks I'd better start thinking about things we do here. . .

Kyddryn said...

I'm rather hoping you'll be one of my guest posters, from time to time, you granola woman, you!

foolery said...

I'm bothered by all of those things for all the same reasons. My solution? I have a well-filled recycling bin and I planted seven tomato plants this year. One died.

Ta-da!!! I am a genius. Ha ha, no, I haven't figured out the balancing act either. I'll follow you.


Kyddryn said...

Laurie, that's great - we'll fall into the trash heap together!!