Green Peace - Advice from an Eco-Blogger Mom
Kermit the Frog was right: It's not that easy being green. Adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle is a worthy endeavor, but it can cause as much guilt, anxiety, and despair as forgetting to call Mom on her birthday.
My maternal path to greenlightenment began with a note from my son's preschool mandating no-waste lunches: sandwiches and snacks in reusable containers, real flatware in place of plastic, juice in a reusable bottle, cloth napkins instead of paper. And so began the eco-warriorization of a mother and son.
When we enrolled Robert in one of L.A.'s greenest elementary schools, the stakes were raised considerably. Students take field trips to clean up beaches, carpoolers are rewarded, and recycle bins and compost bins abound on campus.
So you can imagine how I felt when I pulled up on Robert's first day of fourth grade in my SUV, triggering raised eyebrows at the kiss-and-drop-off line. Panicked, I called out my window, "It's a hybrid. IT'S A HYBRID!"(Unfortunately, my hybrid label was barely visible on my car's unwashed rear end.)
On the home front, our daily grind is fraught with eco-contradictions, no matter how good our intentions. I remember to turn off the faucet when brushing my teeth, but still can't make the leap to brushing while showering. Occasionally, I sneak store-bought bottled water for workouts even though I send my son to school with a nontoxic, reusable bottle filled with filtered tap water.
Then there's my husband, who pleads with us to take shorter showers and turn off the overhead lights, yet won't turn off the TV when he leaves the house. He used to claim it was to keep our dog Trudie company, but oddly it was always left on Fox News. (I don't think Trudie was a big Bill O'Reilly fan.) Trudie has since departed to doggie heaven, but Hannity and Colmes continue to bleat and blare to an empty room.
One night, while working on a blog entry for thedailygreen.com, I encountered something different — what you might call a green peace. My deadline looming, I was hammering away at my computer — lights, fan, and TV all (shamefully) on. In the room next door, Robert, with earphones on, was jamming on an electric guitar, composing music on his PowerMac G5. Suddenly everything went dead, dark, and silent.
It took a second for my brain to realize there'd been a power outage. Then I heard a call from the other room. "Mom?"I found Robert in the hallway, and we lit as many candles as we could find. Once reality settled in, we lay back on the master bed and watched the candlelight dance across the ceiling. I held my son's hand, accepting the absolute quiet; he, too, was happy with the nothingness. No noise intruded except an occasional dog bark from the canyon. No technology, no energy waste, no disruption. Simplify your life is what eco-activists keep telling us. Lying there with the flickering candles was the greenest I had ever felt — it was just that simple.