Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Leaf Me With My Lettuce

Yesterday was Earth Day. Or better yet, feel guilty day. I often feel as though I am doing my little part to make the world a better, greener place. I have the right kind of light bulbs. I bring my own shopping bags to stores. I don't use chemicals outside and for the most part inside my house. I only use the dryer for towels. I cook most of my own food from scratch (yep, even much of the bread we consume). I even recently started composting.

But yesterday I was listening to the news and they were talking about how some colleges were not serving beef or cheese for Earth Day to bring attention to the amount of global warming caused by the desire for beef and dairy in our country. Now, let me say here that I gave up beef several years ago for different reasons (I don't trust the EPA, which is filled with former Cattle Industry Execs.) so I considered it an ethical bonus that I am also being green by not eating beef due to the enormous amount of water and energy that goes into each 1lb of beef that gets to market. There's the beef, but what of the dairy? Can I just say that I love dairy?

Dairy would be harder for me to give up and it make me feel like I can't enjoy a little Fromage D'affinois, a little artisanal ice cream without feeling guilty about what I am doing to the planet now. Yikes, I have enough to feel guilty about (like not spending enough quality time with my kids, like not keeping the house clean enough, like those dark chocolate covered almond turtles-which also contain dairy...). It is human nature, or at least my nature, to make me want something when it is not supposed to be good for me or I am just not supposed to have it. It was only later that I realized that the dinner I had served actually had no meat or dairy in it. If you told me I couldn't have dairy, I would be miserable until I found a way to have it.

It is enough for me to utter the words "f*%@ the planet" every now and then as I reach for the ice cream, even though I do earnestly try to do my part. This is especially the case when I walk around my neighborhood and see how many others are NOT doing there part. There is the neighbor that leaves the TV on all day long, for THE DOG. There is the neighbor with the giant SUV that "warms it up" even in April, for 5-10 minutes before revving off in it. That isn't even to mention all the ChemLawns of the world that operate in these parts.

My daughter, taken up with the "I will do this once a year on Earth day" mentality insisted last night that we had to shut off all of the lights for one minute. I, having just sat down for the first time in hours, enjoying perusing a King Arthur catalogue, protested vociferously and pointed out that NONE of our neighbors were shutting off their lights. I muttered something about the fact that I did more for the planet all year and one minute of her shutting off the lights was a drop in the bucket. Of course she tried to make me feel guilty about my protests. I in turn countered her argument by lecturing her about her love of meat and dairy and how that was killing the planet quicker than one extra minute of electricity.

It's not easy being green, but it is pretty easy to feel guilty about not being green enough.