March 10, 2008

You're not as green as you think you are.

I'm sick of people pounding their chest and claiming to be green simply because they eat 'organic' food and wear birkenstocks.

Buying a hybrid may be a move in the right direction, but it's not enough. And no, Sonesta Hotel, you're not "green" simply because you aren't charging owners of hybrids for valet parking.

Everyone wants to jump on the 'green' bandwagon. I commend that. But it's harder than you think, and I doubt that most of you are as green as you think.

You're not "green" if :
  • you drive any SUV. You just aren't.
  • you drive any high-performance sports car. Green doesn't go 0-60 in three seconds. Ever.
  • your car has more than four cylinders.
  • you don't re-use shopping bags on every trip.
  • you reach for a paper towel instead of a rag.
  • you don't own a bicycle at all (unless you are physically constrained from using one).
  • you take the elevator/escalator instead of the stairs.
  • you let the water run while you wash your hands, brush your teeth, or shave.
  • you've never bothered to figure out if you COULD use the bus or train to commute.
  • you flush the toilet every time you take a leak. No, really.
  • you eat at fast food restaurants; cups, wrappers, straws, even the FORKS get thrown away.
  • you buy pre-packaged meals instead of preparing it yourself.
  • you use any disposable anything.
  • you haven't replaced all your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. Worried mercury? Get real. You're exposed to more mercury opening a can of TUNA FISH.
  • you eat canned tuna fish. Sadly, fisherman have tended to take fish out of the ocean without putting anything back. Fisheries are depleted; guess why.
  • you eat wild-caught fish instead of farmed fish. See above.
  • you eat meat. (and no, I'm not a vegan. But cows and pigs and chickens are major sources of pollution)
  • you don't recycle.
  • you haven't replaced your toilet in the last ten years.
  • you use non-rechargeable batteries.
  • you have more than one TV on at a time. (and frankly, if you have more than one TV).
I'm not accusing you, really I'm not. But it's so easy to SAY we'll be green, and so easy to find a reason not to be THAT green.

Read over that list, and cross off the stuff that you can honestly say "HA! That's not ME." Then see how much is left on the list. I'm not saying you should quit flushing your toilet, but maybe bring in a coffee cup for a refill. Or eat at restaurants that wash dishes instead of throwing them away.


  1. After reviewing that punch-list carefully, I conclude I'm pretty damn green -- more than I would have given myself credit for had you asked me.

    Both cars are 4-cylinder Toyotas. We re-use shopping bags. We own and use bikes. I avoid the elevator and use stairs. I turn off the water, and don't flush after every leak. One teevee in the house. The toilets are a year old. Etc.

    We use both rags and paper towels, and our light bulbs are mostly incandescent. We probably use disposable something, altho I can't think exactly what. (Condoms? No, no need.) We eat tuna, and so do the cats, and while we eat fish and meat as listed, we're damn close to vegetarians, given the small amount s. Our battery use is the only area we fail completely.

    So, thanks -- I feel a bit better about registering with the Green Party years ago. Green, as in, Don't Blame Me I Voted For Nader.

  2. Good for you, squathole! I suspect you're greener than I am. But I'm working on it.