OK, I hate long posts and Iím already on six different tangents here, so Iím going to collect myself for a second and condense the most important lessons Iíve learned at Green as a Thistle into three succinct points:
1) In order to be truly green, we need to maintain a constant awareness of everything we do, use, eat and throw away, everywhere we go and how we get there, what we buy, why we buy it and what happens when we donít need it anymore. As many environmentalists have said, waste is man-made, and Iíve learned that it is actually possible to live without plastic, a car or even a fridge, and still be quite happy (correction: happier). So be aware, people ó constantly aware ó of all your decisions.
2) Ironically, the greenest way to live is in the gray area. We canít possibly take this movement to the next level when weíre still bickering about whether so-and-so is an environmentalist or not. Who cares? It doesnít matter whether youíre a card-carrying hippie or a part-time vegetarian or an employee at a right-wing, global-warming-denying newspaper ó choose your green vices and your green virtues. Maybe you canít stand wasting water: So, install aerating faucets everywhere, take Navy Showers and get a rain barrel; but donít beat yourself up over that Starbucks latte or a few sweaters you got on sale at H&M. Thereís no point in trying to be so absolute about whether or not youíre officially green; just determine your own value system, try to make your choices accordingly and allow yourself occasional slip-ups because, well, pobodyís nerfect.
3) Lastly, and again, this really is nothing new, but seriously people: Stop buying crap. You donít need it. In fact, you donít even want it ó you think you do, you want to be like that pretty girl in the commercial who has it, but itís crap, itís all crap, and youíre better off without it. Iím not a Luddite, Iím not an anarchist and I donít support Buy Nothing Day because Iím all for creating a steady, strong economy, but if we donít start turning the consumerism down a notch we are majorly screwed. There is absolutely no reason why anyone would ever need disposable Tupperware, a Swiffer anything, Glade PlugIns or yogurt in individually packaged tubes.
A lot of people ask me which changes Iím going to keep up and which ones Iíll leave behind. There isnít an easy answer to this because I think some bad habits will return gradually while a few green habits will stick around longer than I thought. Some things I know for sure, though:
I will continue to use natural beauty and personal hygiene products as well as non-toxic cleaning products. Iíll keep eating organic, sustainable food and ride my bike instead of driving a car. Iíll take my shoes off at the door and maintain a strict no-plastic-bag policy. Iíll use a thermos for coffee and a Sigg bottle for water, Iíll keep smiling at strangers and living as simply as possible. Heck, I might not even plug my fridge back in.
I am not, on the other hand, taking lukewarm showers or letting it mellow, picking up litter in the midst of a shopping excursion, drinking wine straight from the bottle or subsisting on a diet of beets and cabbage (the local thing is fine for the most part but Iím planning on scarfing a lot of guacamole and bananas in the days to come). Iíll be using soap on my dirty dishes and baking cookies in my oven, and, most controversially (environmentalists, close your eyes): Iím unscrewing the CFLs in my bedroom. Iím sorry, Iíll stick them everywhere else, but not even the softest-glowing one is any match for my warm, flattering incandescents.
Anyway, enough. I could ramble on for hours about how giving up my car was easier than giving up Kleenex, how itís better to be hypocritical than apathetic when it comes to the environment, how crazy and wonderful the green blogosphere is with its Greenpas and Crunchy Chickens, and all my faithful readers ó blah, Hellcat13, just ducky, Rhett, Matt S., LG Adam, Healthy Cookie, Chile, arduous, limesarah, Esme and more.
But itís time to hit the ďPublishĒ button, shut down my computer and get the heck outside. For those of you wondering what will happen to Green as a Thistle, stay tuned. Iím not leaving the blog behind entirely, but will most likely write a few posts every now and then about which changes Iím keeping up and which ones Iím scrapping. Finally, finally, finally, a big thanks to my mom, dad and sister, my friends, friends-turned-publicists (the Telpners), publicists-turned-friends (Sarah K), my editors Ben and Maryam, colleagues, and a best friend who became an even better friend ó youíve all been overwhelmingly supportive throughout this journey (oh no, Iím using words like journeyÖ OK, seriously time to wrap it up). I could never have done this without you there by my side ó physically, virtually and Ö donít say spiritually, donít say spiritually Ö emotionally!
Phew. Now, if youíll excuse me, Iím going to take a bath, shave my legs, order some Swiss Chalet and go for a ride on my sisterís motorcycle.
Thatís it, kids. Yours greenly,
Photo by the amazing Catherine Farquharson (no relation, although come to think of it, we sort of look alike)