Our Baby Class

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Go Green or Go Home?

Today on Facebook, I saw a picture of a box of macaroni and cheese with "organic milk" and "organic butter" in the cooking directions.  Bad Parenting Moments pointed out that this is in fact boxed macaroni and cheese.  I giggled, and then thought about a question I've been bumping around for awhile.

Is it only worth going green if you go in 100%?

DH and I care a lot about making green choices.  We use CFLs, buy organic, recycle, reduce, and reuse.  We cloth diaper, breastfeed (yes, it's an eco-friendly choice), and I use reusable menstrual pads.  That should put us firmly in the hippy camp.  Right?

Confession time:

  • There are still light fixtures in our house with incandescent light bulbs. 
  • I have every intention of recycling all of our cardboard and paper waste, but sometimes things on the top floor get thrown in the trash. 
  • Despite arguments that conventional meat and produce is more expensive in the long run, when working with our grocery budget, organic meat and produce is just too expensive up front. 
  • I really love frozen jalapeno poppers, and sometimes, DH and I eat an entire meal of frozen fried food. We call it despicable dinner. It may or may not have happened more than once during my last trimester.
  • I didn't stop eating McDonald's after watching Food, Inc. I stopped a few months ago (several years after the fact) when it finally stopped tasting good to me. 
Do these confessions negate everything I do to go green? No.  I'm a firm believer that each person takes the steps that are right for them.  I'm constantly improving in all of the above categories.  When the incandescent lights burn out, we replace them with CFLs (except the ones on the dimmer switch in the basement).  I'm better than I used to be about making sure paper products end up in the right place.  We support our farmers' market and raise food in our own garden.  We don't keep processed food in the house, and it's an occasional treat.

There is a parable, called the Star Thrower, retold often by motivational speakers.  The following version was adapted by Starfish Charity from the original essay by Loren Eisely.

An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.
"Young lady," he asked, "Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"
"The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die."
"But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference."
The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying, "It made a difference for that one."
The old man looked at the young woman inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined her in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
My minister told the starfish story as part of a sermon recently, and it has stuck with me.
Turn off the lights when leaving the room. That's one starfish saved.
Line dry the cloth diapers. That's another starfish saved.
Use natural light during the daytime. Happy starfish.

We don't have to save every single starfish to make a difference.  Start by throwing back as many as you can, and together, we will save many.

1 comment:

  1. You have no idea how bad I needed this! I'm almost 7 months preggo with number 3, and as much as I hate to admit it-I haven't been the "cleanest" with my food choices all the time and I've really beating myself up about it. This helped to see the bigger picture!