Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Greenabe

I am inventing a new word: Greenabe, which is like “wannabe” but green. As in “I would like to live a greener lifestyle, I am a green wannabe," or “greenabe, if you will.

Over the years, I’ve become rather concerned with the state of our environment and wonder what kind of planet my nieces and nephews will inherit after I am done with it. As a result I have become a bit of a recycling nazi at home, and am constantly hassling Todd about what he throws into the trash. I make a loud, dramatic huffing noise as I reach into the trash bin and fish out whatever offensive, but recyclable, object he’s tossed in there. Then I passive-aggressively sigh as I open the back door and toss it into the appropriate bin on the deck outside. Admittedly he’s not bad about separating the trash by any means—it’s just that I am a pain in the ass about the very few times he forgets and lobs something recyclable into the trash.

But with all my concern, and all my huffing about recyclable items in the trash, am I doing enough so that my nieces and nephews will be left with a clean planet to live on? The answer is probably no—which is what makes me a greenabe. But the concept of being a greenabe has its own issues. A whole market niche has formed around being green. There are house paints that are made with green pigments, there are cleaning products made with green ingredients; there are canvas bags to be bought for carrying my groceries, notepads made with recycled paper, building material made out of sustainable bamboo and clothing made out of organic cotton and hemp. So it leads me to the dilemma of will buying more stuff lead me to dispose of even more stuff when I replace the non-green stuff I have. Which is greener? Buying green products and supporting the people who make them or sticking with the non-green stuff I currently have and not producing the demand for more stuff?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know that I can make simple changes in our lives, and take the changes one at a time. I’ve switched to a brand of cleaning product that is manufactured in a plant that uses sustainable energy. I carry reusable bags to the market, and I drive slower on the highway so that I use less gas. The current greenabe change we’re making is to our commute. We live in a town that I like to call Podunk, RI due to the fact that it’s in the country. Todd works in the big city, Providence, and I work in a waterfront town. My workplace is on the way to his, kind of, so Todd and I have been commuting in to work together. Because our marina is a few blocks from where I work we leave the Jeep there, so I can use it during the day if I need to. It’s saved us on gas a great deal because we only have one car traveling the one route we’d both normally be on, and his bitchen Acura is more fuel efficient than my Jeep.

The next greenabe thing I want to do is to recycle when we’re on the boat. At the moment we don’t recycle beer bottles and soda cans while on the boat. They call go into the same trash bin only because I haven’t found the space where I want to keep a recycling bin or a trash bag for the recyclables. And when we’re on a longer trip I don’t often see recycling bins at the marinas we go to, so then I am stuck hauling bags of empty bottles and cans around until we do see a bin. But I comfort myself with the idea that it’s only a few weeks out of the entire year that I don’t recycle those things and my inner nag pipes up with “But if the whole world took a vacation from recycling, where would we be in a few decades?”

Are you a greenabe? What greenabe habits have you been keeping lately?

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Taoist Biker said...

Good word invention. Yep, I fit.

Since the school year ended and I haven't had to drive my son 20 miles across town and back every day, I've been riding the bus to work. Usually. But sometimes I run a little late getting out the door for whatever reason, or "Ew, it's supposed to be pouring rain in the afternoon when I'm waiting anywhere from 5-15 minutes for my bus" or whatever, and I wuss out and drive.

I will say that I've been PISSED lately. I've got a nice pile of cardboard that is roughly the maximum size allowed by our city recycling program...and the damned recycle guys have left it there two weeks running. Hell, last week they even left the pizza boxes. This week they took the pizza boxes and left everything else.

This week I'm going to cut everything in half so there's no way they can say any of it is too big. And if they don't pick it up I'm going to be calling my councilman with gritted teeth.

July 9, 2008 at 6:56 AM  
Blogger Craze said...

Yup, I'm a greenabe. I do believe that even if every person made just one green choice, it WOULD make a difference. I'm also a Nazi recycler at home. I also drive slower, don't take my receipt at the bank, I don't use plastic water bottles (this one is HUGE), I use canvas totes for my groceries, I cut my paper towels in half and use only when necessary instead using cloth napkins, and try to save on water whereever I can at home. We did not inherit this land from our ancestors we're borrowing it from out children.

July 9, 2008 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger Beej said...

Our trash guys annoy me too, TB. I have to cut the cardboard into little itty bitty pieces. Have I mentioned that Todd's just bought a drill press and some other machinery for Man Town lately? I will be slicing cardboard from now until the end of time. LOL.

Craze, I love your last sentence, and you've inspired me to hit up TJ Maxx for some cloth napkins.

July 9, 2008 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I guess I would say I'm a greenabe, but I am trying to be actually "green" true to my definition of the word, which is being more aware of how and how much I use "things" and finding ways to reduce the use of said "things" (Things being gas, non-recyclables, paper, etc), and making smart, informed decisions about what goes into my house, body, car, and pets.
There is a lot of "green washing" going on all over lately, and it is quite annoying. It is nice to have eco-friendly options, but there is no reason to go out and buy something new because it is "green" when what you have serves its purpose just fine. Part of the problem we as a planet (and particularly as a nation) have is that we buy too much stuff. We replace stuff that doesn't need replaced, we don't consider quality as much as cost and buy things that will crap out faster and cost us more (both monetarily and planitarily) in the long run. That to me is the biggest problem. I try not to buy anything unless I need it. For example: I would love more fuel efficient car(s), but the 2 we have right now work fine. We don't drive all that much, and they don't get TERRIBLE mileage, so it makes no sense to go out and buy something new. We will use what we have until we *need* new car(s) and then we will buy whatever we feel is the best fit for us and the environment at the time. Until then we have started driving my (more efficient) car whenever possible, learning how to get better mileage out of the vehicles we have, and have talked about going down to one car (or at least having me take the bus or bike to work).
To me, it's about using less, period. Use what you have until something new is necessary, then make an informed decision about what comes next, learn to live on less, and become less of a consumer--that is being green to me.

July 9, 2008 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Beej,

You failed to mention our planned deployment of solar panels on our boat so that we don't have to run a diesel generator or the engine to keep our electronics going....

July 9, 2008 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

I'm trying, Craze is teaching me! lol My mom & I have been carpooling for YEARS so I know that's a plus. I just informed the family that we will NOT be buying cases of water bottles like we use to, but that everyone will be using their own store bought/reuseable bottle for water. I've got to get more totes for groceries, too.

July 18, 2008 at 4:01 PM  

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