Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oy, Already With Green

I've just been reading the Sunday Times, and this week is the Design supplement. Would you believe Green is in?

Green is in, that is, for people who can afford to spend thousands of dollars being green. I have already touched on the essential problem of organic food, but wow, photovaic panels are WAY more out of reach. And cute little dresses made of hemp will run you about 400 bucks.

You know, there have been various periods of American history where (like this one) a lot of people didn't have a lot of money. The Depression. Wartime (well, Civil War and WWII, at any rate - lately wars seem to be run to make money - see H for Halliburton). And people survived without things and in so doing, probably made themselves green without paying any attention to it whatsoever, on account of being busy surviving.

Here are the very simple rules. Use it up. Make it do. Mend it. Use it for something else. Never throw away leftovers. Baking soda and plain white vinegar are terrific cleansers - check the internet and you'll find a billion ways to use them. (Hey, I'm only trying to be frugal, not lose my mind - damned if I'm giving up my computer.) You want to make the house smell nice? All the Korean markets in my neighborhood are now selling pots of hyacinths, which smell wonderful. Those old thin T-shirts make great cleaning rags. Which you wash and reuse (cold water, please).

Really. Who needs aromatherapy organic cleanser? At three times the price of plain old Mr. Clean? And I'll bet that a whole lot of the people who are buying this stuff are A. buying it from Fresh Direct, which delivers and then lets its trucks sit idling in the street spewing exhaust, and B. having somebody in twice a week to use it.

It really is a problem of American society, because we spent so much time being top nation and the richest and all that stuff that we can't get our little minds around anything but spending money. The planet is dying! Oh, my God! Let's buy something to help it! And this, my children, is how you get $8 toilet cleaner.

And I dearly love carbon offsets. Here's another thing tailored for the rich. I feel terribly guilty about taking off to Aruba in my private jet, so I think I'll plant some trees somewhere. And again - it's based on something you buy, not something you actually do. These guys aren't changing their lifestyle in the slightest - they're merely spending MORE money to keep it up.

Now, I really must make one thing perfectly clear. If someone suggested that I go out and homestead somewhere in a log cabin with outdoor plumbing and a woodstove, I would howl like a wolf. I am an entirely urban type who likes my luxuries (comparatively tiny as they are). But I still think I can do my part in my own small way by rejecting certain notions - like buying the new styles (even at H&M) when in fact I don't need clothing, getting my shoes reheeled instead of buying new ones, buying fresh food instead of heavily packaged and know, little shit like this. It actually adds up over time!

And now I'm going to crawl under my elderly sheets (well, hell, they match my elderly body) and reread an old book. So there.

Love, Wendy

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