I am all about going green and saving energy and not using gas and blah blah. Really, I am. I ride the bus, I ride my bike, I combine trips, I unplug unused appliances, I walk, I recycle, and I buy local and organic. But I still feel responsible for the dying species of the planet. You see, I buy paper towels and I still drive my car. And when I want a tomato in the middle of winter I buy a tomato in the middle of winter. No matter how hard I'm trying to change my ways, I still feel guilty.
If you buy an organic kumquat, it does no good if the kumquat in question travels from Bolivia. The good done in buying organic is negated by the oil and pollution caused by getting the organic item to its final donation. But part of me wonders if it's not just all about organic. I feel like promoting organic farming, in any part of the world, will do good. If some poor farmer in Bolivia knows someone in America is buying his organic kumquats, then he will continue to use sustainable farming. It could be a domino affect, his neighbor sees him farming sustainably and still turning a profit so his neighbor decides she's going to farm sustainably. That is pretty great and I'm sure Bolivia needs the economic stimulation in their kumquat distribution. And as for the travelling fruit in question, it could come by train for all I know or other transportation that was coming here anyway. I don't buy kumquats so I focus on seasonal, locally grown produce. There is plenty of it. But like I said, if I want an apple in February, I'm getting the apple. A pleasure of living in 2008, and part of the reason we live so long, is that I can do that. I would be a very vitamin deficient lady come March if I had to stick to seasonal produce. But I feel like a villain whenever I buy a kiwi in December.
As for my outright use of oil and other petroleum based products (petroleum is EVERYWHERE) I travel publicly when I can and try not to waste trips. I hate getting in my car just to go to one place so I stock up my trips. But whenever I get in my car I feel like a jerk. I know I can take the bus to the grocery store but sometimes I need to take my car. I buy a lot of groceries and I don't want to be on the busiest bus line in Albany with five full and heavy, mind you reusable, grocery bags. Does that make me a jerk? Not really, but I still feel like one. It doesn't matter that I walk to work every day or walk to the store on light shopping days or take the bus to the dentist. Mike and I love our local restaurants and movie theatres, all things we can walk to. But sometimes I just want Panchos and that takes a car ride down Central Avenue. I have a year left of payments on my car- I'm not getting rid of it! Besides, we take my car on road trips since it's more fuel efficient. I'm trying here!
I'm all about sustainability. That's why I recycle and buy recycled paper products. I will never stop using paper towels- I may use them less, but I will use them. I will never stop using toilet paper- would you? So, all paper products we buy for the household is recycled. I still buy Clorox hand wipes but I found a bamboo, all natural disinfectant wipe and I'm going to switch over to that. My next step is biodegradable garbage bags and I'm trying to find a non-silicone litter that won't leave my cat peeing all over the apartment. Plus, when Mike and I get a house I am composting the shit out of my food waste- it will help me with my garden. I even use organic shampoo and make-up so I don't pollute the Hudson River! That thing is so full of toxic waste what harm is a little Herbal Essences going to do to it? (Not much but my endocrine system is really achy these days.)
The point is I'm trying and I will continue to try. I'm no Ed Begley, Jr. but I'm going to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I don't know why whenever I use a paper towel I feel guilty. No one judges me when I buy them. The worst that could happen is the stupid teenage checkout kid who talks about hitting that ass last night noticing I buy a lot of organic and recycled shit and raising an eyebrow. I can forget that douche. I just can't shake this feeling of shame. Why? Will I feel like whatever I do will be enough?