- $$ Thinking Green $$
- May 2nd, 2009
Financial situations have ruined the color green for me. The beloved color is now stamped into my brain as a movement, not a lovely blend of cerulean and merrigold. Marketing has taken photosynthesis and turned it into A Thing, if not The Thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with the 'movement.' Like most movements that pique my interest I'm in agreeance in the theory and ultimate goals, it's just usually the thing in practice that turns me off. Going Green is admirable. I love the idea of cutting down on waste and toxic elements in life to live purely and happily. What I don't love is how damn expensive it is to Go Green. How trendy it is to Be Green. How you're less of a person if you aren't Green.
In a way, I've been Greenish (Turquoise?) my whole life. I am my grandmother's granddaughter. My grandmother who grew up in the depression, who learned not to waste a single thing unless it is absolutely necessary. My mother learned these techniques and I have inherited them as an heirloom. Passed down for generations. My sister is the shining beacon of keeping the heirloom intact with environmentally-friendly cleaning products, compost piles, back-yard gardens, uber-efficient washer and dryer, bee-keeping, etc etc. I think it's fantastic that she looks out for her family's health and happiness in this way. Her daughters are growing up in a very sustainable household with the Family Heirloom to teach them how many ways to re-use a tin can. My sisters and brothers (all five of us) know what it's like to Be Green but the main difference in the home-schooled-hippyish kids and us is that we reduced, reused and recycled because it was financially necessary. A stay at home mother (with a stint of back-to-school for a few years) and a hard-working father was the life for us. We didn't lead a life of constant lacking, heck, I think most of the time we never knew what we were "missing" which means we were just fine. There were little things that we had to keep in mind, however, due to a large family and a smaller budget. Tin foil had many lives, as did paper bags, plastic bags, pretty much anything that was supposed to be disposable lived longer than manufacturers intended because it was wasteful to throw something away which was still perfectly usable. My instincts kick me in the head when I see a glass jar in the trash (or really, even the recycling bin) because just THINK of all the things that jar can be! How much money can be saved by using a jam jar to hold q-tips rather than buying some curtain-matching plastic cup that walmart says is designed for the purpose. You get the point. I am kind of a pack-rat.
So how do I react when I see the Green Movement pushing organic cotton pillows in my face for $300 a pop? Or when I'm the bad guy because the produce I have in my fridge isn't a 100% certified organic, totally-local fare? I have become embittered towards turning my life green. I get upset walking through the earth-friendly grocery store because I can't afford it. I'm not asking to live a life beyond my means and I'm not spouting any evils of sustainability. I am stating that I think it's wrong that the idea of reducing waste and keeping your life at a healthy balance has been so exploited to the point where I want to go to walmart and buy some processed, frozen pizza rolls just out of spite. Getting the word out is one thing, but so many markets cashing in on something that had/has such a pure goal and twisting it into a trendy profit really boils my convential, 50-cents-a-can beans. It's important at this economic time to pinch pennies and rely on ourselves to use what we have to the best of our abilities. I'm just a little fed-up by the lack of understanding that sometimes, especially now-times, not everyone can afford to support local farmers, that making sure all the new clothes you buy come from within the country and have the best-possible work conditions is not always an option, and that there've always been 100 ways to reuse a tin can and to please not put a $40 price tag on one just because you think it's cute and Green.