August 1, 2008

What the hell are you supposed to do if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

Note: Cloth Diaper Mamas is hosting a Baby RingSling giveaway which ends Sunday at midnight - check it out!

Sadly, my carbon footprint is worthy of a sasquatch. Furthermore, I am fairly certain that cloth diapers are against my religion (that is my story and I am so stickin' to it.) However, I realize there are those who dwell among us that love the earth more than I do. My hats off to you. Feel free to pelt me with bales of hemp. I deserve it.

That said, the movie Wall-E did affect me in profound ways. Have you ever been to a landfill? I have - many, many times. As a child, we lived in the country where there was no trash pickup. We burned all paper products, saved all food scraps for the chickens, and everything else was collected in trash bags and stored in an outbuilding. About once a year, my dad would load the pickup truck and we would go to our county's landfill. Those profound experiences have never, ever left me and I will ensure that my own children visit a landfill every now and then. Because of those experiences, I am a faithful recycler - my community has recycling centers that are free. We even have a curbside recycling service that only costs a mere 2 bucks a month, yet hardly anyone on my block uses it! I love, love recycling - if I pick up something recyclable while I am out and about, I will even take it home to recycle. Arun is already in on the action and knows that cans and certain bottles go in the garage, not the trash, which thrills me.

However, I still have a long ways to go in my recycling and efforts at reducing trash - I attempt to use as few bags as possible for my produce (I throw it directly in the cart) and I am trying to use cloth bags. I suck at remembering to take them into the store, though. Must work on that. I am also making the effort to NOT get a bag when I leave a store. Yesterday, when I bought my copy of Twilight, I carried it out of the store sans bag. Considering that I immediately cracked open the book while still in the car, the bag would have been superfluous anyway.

Okay....okay.......Truthfully? If I could do it all over again, I would have done a hybrid cloth diapering system (cloth at home, disposable while out and about.) I could never justify cloth via costs, though. We belong to Costco and even with two adorable Poop Machines, I do not spend more than $50 a month diapers.

So those are my teeny, tiny, minuscule efforts at being a responsible world citizen.

What are yours?


Anjali said...

We seem to have identical carbon footprints. I really wanted to use cloth diapers this time around, but I still can't keep up with the laundry we already have. We do major recycling, though (but have to pay far more for it than you do, unfortunately) and have energy saver appliances, bulbs, etc. We do have a hybrid, but that gets erased by the minivan. We buy everything organic that we can, and are vegetarians, which is probably is the biggest reduction of our carbon footprint. But still, there are loads of ways we could do better.

Anonymous said...

Yep, we are similar. I do think we have a pretty good start though. I recycle everything I can. I use cloth bags for groceries and Target (I put mine away in my car so I don't forget them). I buy organic.

My biggest concern in my area is water. My neighbors are addicted to watering their lawn. We do not and yet our lawn doesn't look TOO much different than the others. Our town is working with an advertised and well known deficit as we transfer from aquifer water to Lake Michigan water, yet no one wants to give up watering!

I try to add something new every month or so. My current undertaking is to clean more green. I am using vinegar more and Windex less.


Marilyn (aka slackermama) said...

I wish I could be all high and mighty and say I started cloth diapering as a way to save environment, alas... it was not. Part of me wanted to try it on Liam (he is cloth diapered 1/2 time) in hopes that it would make potty training easier. Part of it is cost (we didn't buy all our cloth diapers all at once, a little each month until we had a good "stash"). And yeah, I guess environment was a factor. But that's only because after Evie was born I had a visual of all the diapers leaving our house in the trash each week and it made me feel ILL.

But my carbon footprint? MUST BE GINORMOUS. I never remember cloth bags at the store. We have yet to sign up for our town's curbside recycling, and we use an ungodly amount of paper plates each month. GAH. Tons of room for improvement over here!

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Hey, I just got your earthquake related texts this morning. But got your other ones yesterday.

Yes we made up at the end though it was fucking difficult and I was on the verge of leaving (this time). It gets harder and harder to leave the more time we spend together and what am I going to do, anyway? Trade him for ANOTHER workaholic? I have a long history of dating guys exactly like him, anyway.

OTOH the 400th missed call and patronisingly telling me a 750 is a bad score = volcanic eruption on my part.

Anonymous said...

remembering to bring the cloth bags is hard!! Especially when your arms are already full of chilluns! We don't have recycling outside city limits...i don't know why..but what it means for us is that we recycle in the shed then take our recycling in every few months and get free money!!! sort of. But I don't think the people in town who pay for the recycling container get free money back so that kinda works out..

flybunny said...

After a traumatic experience diapering my niece in cloth diapers, I knew we would go with disposable. And I still need to sign up for curbside recycling and yes, I too always forget the bags.

I rarely request bags anywhere unless I really really need them and we buy from farmers markets as much as possible. I know I need to do a much better job but it will take baby steps for us to get there.

moderndayhermit said...

At this moment we recycle, try to remember our cloth bags as often as possible (I've started to store them in my TRUCK) and try to buy as much food locally as we can.

We are currently looking for a smaller house - about half the size of our current home's 3,000 sq. feet and purging items that we really don't need. No more storing of b.s. items that we most likely won't use anyway.

Then, time to trade in my truck for a more economical vehicle. It has taken me a while to become willing to trade her in. When many dream of luxury vehicles and convertibles I dreamed of my super crew lariat truck with leather interior, haha!

We've been working towards simplifying our lives for some time now and making it about quality and not quantity. I am quite proud of my husband who was quite the pack-rat. He is even in the spirit of things.

My inspiration was really my son. I want to spend more time on him and my family and things I enjoy doing not on managing (and cleaning) our crap.

QIR said...

my carbon footprint is tiny, but I'm poor, cheap and I live in a walkable/bikeable area.

My favorite carbon reducing tactic is clothing reuse. My mostly similarly sized friends and I have clothing swaps about 4 times a year.

We bring decent condition clothing to somebody's house, lock out the men, set up full length mirrors and dump everything in a pile on the floor. The little kids play dress up while the grownups score new outfits.

No one brings badly stained or ripped stuff and most of us have moderately nice taste, there's usually something for everyone. The remainders go to Goodwill.

One of the best parts is that friends have you try things you wouldn't have picked on your own, and they nix anything that makes you look bad.

It's not for everyone, but for the open minded it provides value and a nice social exchange.

Scribbit said...

Your title is just too funny! A regular Catch 22 :)

Cheryl Lage said...

Marvelously written, and love your honesty and humor.

Feel better--read a piece by the author of "Raising Baby Green" and the good doctor declared the toll on the earth is close to EQUAL (if not equal) for both cloth and disposables. The detergents, water and other cleansing draws are not wholly earth-friendly.

As a Sasquatchian mother of twin furry forst dwellers, I imagine our footprint is far from petite. We try as we can...but think we call could benefit from intellectual honesty on some of the purportedly "green" options that actually ain't so much so!
Thanks for your candor...such fun!

Cheryl Lage said...

Forgive the typos...I was busy harvesting hemp with my other hand... ;)

Heza Hekele said...

I just about could have written an identical post! I recycle most everything I can, but draw the line at giving up disposable diapers...being as I wouldn't give up tampons or other disposable hygiene products either, and with costco membership, the dent to my wallet is not that deep...

Me said...

I try to recycle what I can and pay the $5/mo for recycling, but we throw away an ungodly amount of trash anyway.

When the Little Miss was about 8 months old, I tried to ease my disposable diaper guilt by using G Diapers, which is kind of a cloth/disposable hybrid that are flushable. I liked them, though they were a little more work and a lot more expensive than disposable. The Little Miss ended up with horriffic on-going diaper rash, though, so we ended up sidelining them for Huggies.

I still have them - 2 (or 4) covers that should fit Anjali and a pack of liners if you'd like to try them.

Anonymous said...

You PAY for roadside recycling? I will never again complain that the council only collects recycling (for free) every two weeks.

Not sure if I'm qualified to enter into the diaper discussion as I'm childless, but... we're in the middle of the worst drought in living memory (I'm in Australia), so I say save the water and use disposables. But if people live somewhere where there isn't a water shortage, go for cloth. But then I heard that manufacturing disposable diapers uses as much water as you would use in a lifetime of washing cloth, so again, you don't win with disposables. Maybe I'll re-enter this discussion when I can speak from experience rather than ideology...

Olivia said...

We recycle a lot since our city has a program for just $2/month. The great thing is that no separating is required. I do get irked at the neighbors who don't recycle since it is SO DAMN EASY here.

No kidlets for me yet, but I've been looking at those G-diapers. Haven't done the price comparison to regular disposables yet though.

kristen said...

I don't think there is a really good answer for the diapering dilemma. I guess if you are up to the task of "elimination communication" but, ugh. I use cloth because water is plentiful here and the chemicals in disposable scare me. I was really disappointed that the g-diapers are so expensive they seemed like the perfect solution. Cagey you did forget one big thing you do to reduce your carbon footprint, breastfeeding. Think of all the cans of formula and water for washing bottles you have saved.

elizasmom said...

am trying to be more low-impact all-around, and the thing that bugs me about a lot of the press about this subject is that it always sounds like you have to make this herculean effort and spend gobs of money retrofitting your house. Yes, OK, installing a wind turbine in your yard and solar heating is good, but there are so many little things people can do that add up — including exactly the kinds of things in your post and comments.

If you have an old high-volume flush toilet: get a gallon milk jug, put some rocks in it, put it in your toilet tank. Voila, you are using a gallon less water with every flush.

If you have a kiddie pool outside for your kids, when it's time to get rid of the water, make a game out of it and have your kids help you use the old water to water your garden.

Etc. — a lot of things you would toss can be downcycled; the most obvious example being using old T-shirts as cleaning rags, but it goes from there.

Kerry said...

Get the cloth bags that fold up small and fit in your purse. They have good ones at Target, or Walgreens...and then some even fancier ones that fold up even smaller at some of the hippie dippie organic food stores.

I carry a very small purse, but I always have my cloth bag in there. If you carried around one of those larger purses, you could probably pack two or three. And it comes in handy for more than just groceries.