21 October 2010

Al Gore Approved This Message

Okay, so maybe he didn't. Gotta land some eyeballs here some way . . .

This was originally going to be titled "It Ain't Easy Being Green," because as a parent, you do face significant challenges to being environmentally conscious. More plastic, more waste, more electronics—just more, basically.

Recently, I read a book called Sleeping Naked Is Green by Vanessa Farquharson, an amusing account of how a Canadian arts journalist and self-proclaimed eco-cynic spent an entire year making one green change a day to her life. It's an entertaining depiction of the highs and lows of being a more environmentally conscious person.

By the way, I checked the book out of the library—pretty green. Well, at least, perhaps more green than ordering it online and having it shipped from . . . wherever they ship the books from. Of course, I did drive to the library to pick it up (and back again to return it), perhaps mitigating some, or even much, of any actual greenness from using the library as opposed to an online bookseller. See, being green is not easy.

And I feel like I'm setting a terrible example for my son.

Anyway, the book was actually inspiring and made me look closely at how green my life actually is (and whether it has gotten less or more so since the Doozer was born). And while I'm actually one of the greener people I know, I could still stand to make some more improvements.

While I'd really like to say we're raising a Gaia-loving hippie baby who is fed nothing but organic fruits and vegetables, and local, free range or sustainable foods . . . sadly, I cannot. (Although, he did recently utter the phrase, "More parsnips, please" at dinner. I'm not sure they were organic, but what 2 year-old makes that kind of request? That's gotta count for something.) Sure, I'd like to tell you he has more hand-me-downs than new designer clothes, that he has recycled (or recyclable) toys, that his bedroom is not full of a mass of plastic to rival that big ball of junk floating out there in the middle of the Pacific Ocean . . . while I can't say all that, he does have some hand-me-downs and wooden toys, he gets some organic food (milk, for one), and yes, we have told him about recycling and so has his pal the moose, the one in between the shows on Nick Jr. So, he knows the word "recycle."

He doesn't know what it means . . .

But, honestly, we could be doing better. we could be doing more. I suppose, in a way, one of the best ways to teach a child is simply to live the way you want them to, lead by example, as it were. Making it just a fact of life, a way of being, that it just seems normal. In that case, I suppose we are doing an okay job. Our recycle bin is filled to the brim every week, we turn off lights and electronics when leaving a room, I put a plastic bottle full of rocks in the toilet tank to use less water (no, really). We even started a garden and a compost bin this past year (with varying degrees of success).

However, there is one change for the greener we have managed to make in the Doozer's life. Which is pretty big. Earlier this year, we started using cloth diapers. While it took us rather longer to make the switch than it probably should have (and we are not 100 percent on cloth diapers, though we are pretty close). Yes, we still use disposables (don't judge us). Only at certain times and out of practicality (overnight, when someone else is watching him—it took quite a bit to get used to a soiled diaper that did not go directly into the trash, I cannot fathom my dad dealing with such a thing).

One smallish bag a week of disposable diapers is not so bad. Less waste (literally and figuratively) in a landfill. At first, it seemed there'd be a trade-off through an increase of laundry (water usage, energy), but that isn't out of control. On one occasion recently, we even put the newly washed diapers outside to dry in the sun—very green, in that we were able to forgo at least one entire time running the clothes dryer.

Plus, they're pretty stylish.

And it's actually not that huge an adjustment. (Ed. note: Of course not, muses the author's wife. You're not the one who deals with them every day. The author has no rebuttal. So we move on.)

Perhaps next we can join a CSA. Do more bike riding (or any). Cultivate an even bigger garden.

The Doozer should be sporting some serious dreadlocks and hemp shoes any day now . . .


  1. The Doozer flexes his muscles.

  2. Very glad this is becoming a serious initiative for the homestead! I'm not going to say walking or riding your bike 0.25 miles to work while you were out here would have been a nice start, but, well, I guess I just did. =)