Deirdre Reilly: Going green full of problems
Global warming continues to be a big topic nationally, pushed by numerous green Web sites and blogs, as well as a new generation of green cleaning products and an emphasis on legislating going green. I am what you would call cool on the whole global warming thing; all I know is that this winter I froze my unmentionables off while hearing repeatedly about the planet’s global warming plight. Greenies always use polar bears to bring a nice fuzzy face to the problem – after all, who doesn’t want polar bears to do well? They’re cute, they’re a beautiful white color and apparently they drink Coke, just like us. But when it comes to being green, I must say I have a long way to go. I’m not toting the cloth bag around at the grocery store just yet.
Not to say I don’t try, but let’s face it, you get tired. When I am in a hurry to clean the kitchen, I have been known to guiltily throw plastic water bottles into the trash, where my husband finds them and fishes them out, placing them in the recycling bin outside. But I clean the toilets every week, so I’d say we’re more than even.
Lately I have heard global warming media experts using the term “global chaos” to describe the planet’s varying temperatures, instituted after we had a colder-than-usual winter almost everywhere, and the public just wasn’t buying it. Global chaos to me would be war, or a meltdown of the nation’s electrical power grid, or everyone just slacking off due to Twittering nonstop, and no actual work being done anywhere, anytime, so that all tweets just read, “Right now I’m … well, I’m … Twittering. That’s all I do.” Winters that are cold and summers that are hot do not seem that chaotic to me. Of course, I got used to chaos long ago with three sons – who, by the way, are much more planet-conscious than I am – so I may not be the best judge.
Also, in an effort to be emissions-conscious, it would be hard for me to have a battery-operated car that you have to plug in at night, because I am forgetful. I can’t even remember to plug my cell phone in, so what chance do I have with a whole car? I can imagine myself sitting at home alone, missing weddings, family reunions and group movie outings because I forgot to plug in my car the night before. And what if you need an electrical adapter to plug it in? Then I’d be sunk. An adapter is one of those things; either you have 9 million of them, exploding out of drawers and jacket pockets, or you have none, as in zero. This happened to me yesterday.
I decided to clean my carpets (with chemicals! I’m sorry!) and the Rug Doctor steam cleaner that I rented required an adapter. When I saw those three prongs sticking out at me from the end of the cord, I said, “Oh, no, you don’t,” and then I did what I always do – I said, “I think our outlets can handle either two or three prongs!” Total self-deception. They’re all two-prongers. Cut to 40 minutes later: drawers were sagging open, jackets lay on the floor, pockets inside out, my pitiful coffee can I use for a tool box was spilled all over the floor. I reached for my cell phone to call my husband and drag him out of a meeting to sob, “Where the heck is an adapter? What are they, 69 cents each? What kind of loony bin home doesn’t have an adapter?” (These calls are awkward for him; he smiles into the phone and says heartily, “All righty then, honey, thanks for checking in! You have a great day, too!”) Of course, my cell phone was dead. As you can see, a plug-in car would be a non-starter (literally) for us.
Crazily, while we have an emphasis on going green, we now have to throw away some very natural, organic material, and of course I am speaking of dog poop. Why aren’t we allowed to leave this material on median strips or along the roadway if no one ever walks there? (Might I remind you, we’re picking up the poop with plastic bags – plastic. I thought we were trying to get away from plastic.) I am going to get sick if I see one more person walking along nonchalantly with a bag of poop tied to their belt as if it was a tape measurer or cell phone. Not to say I don’t pick up after my dogs, I’m just against it, unless it is on someone’s yard. Back in the ’70s, there was free-range pooping by every dog on the planet, and the planet seemed to be doing just fine.
I have ended up kind of middle-of-the-road on going green; I am trying to recycle plastic, I care about what species are endangered out in the wild, I turn the water off while I brush my teeth and I would not consider buying an SUV. But neither would I go all Al Gore on you and try to make you fear many things we use and produce in terms of its impact on the planet, without definitive corresponding science. And trust me, when my dogs and I are out in the woods, we are free-range, baby! No plastic bags in sight!
You can connect with Deirdre at www.exhaustedrapunzel.com.