Thursday, April 1, 2010

You are destroying yourself and your entire family and other fun facts

I read voraciously. And I read lots of things, from novels to nonfiction, from internet satire to newspapers, from children's books to magazines and everything in between. I love fiction, but I also really like expanding my mind and world view, so I also study a lot of nonfictional sources.

And, man. Sometimes it really blows.

I read an article today on going green. Except, instead of giving helpful advice on how to do something constructive, it basically went on and on (and on and on) about how everything you give to your children ever is doing terrible things to them and you basically suck at life.

Really, it was the least optimistic article on Earth.

Listen, I want to be more green. I like the idea of reducing my carbon footprint, I like knowing what I can do to make my family healthier. I want to incorporate more organics. I want to compost. I want to do eighty billion things. But, really, writing something that says, "Everything that you use is killing yourself and your child, and by the time you pop out the kid you're baking right now, she will already be practically poisoned beyond repair anyways," just depresses me.

I won't even terrify you all by repeating ANY of the awful things in the article, nor will I give them any publicity by telling you where it was.

But I will tell you my stance on the whole thing.

Listen. We, as a people, are living longer than ever before. People have the ability to function in this society and be ridiculously healthy - even if they eat fast food every once in awhile or use Windex instead of all natural eco friendly stuff. A lot of people become unhealthy because they make terrible choices - like eating NOTHING but fat laden, processed crap and never ever working out.

But I'm also not a proponent of "You can NEVER do..." Well, I mean, in some cases, yeah. You probably can't be healthy and have the occasional crack, for instance. But with most things, moderation is key. I can spend fifteen minutes in the sun not slathered in sunscreen and probably not get skin cancer. I can let my kid eat pizza and cookies for dinner every once in awhile and not be dooming her to a life of obesity. If I don't buy everything organic because I can't afford to pay organic prices on everything and feed my family, I can still make healthy choices.

If you focus all the time on how dangerous everything on Earth is, when do you ever get to live? How soon until you take it to the extreme? If nothing is safe and nothing is healthy, what do you do? How do you fix that? How do you survive in a modern society?

I want to know what I can do to help my family. But I don't want a depressing, pessimistic opus on how I'm making all the wrong choices. Especially when the right choices appear to be unattainable outside of Utopia. I just want a common sense view on things.


Jessie Pixie said...

"Well, I mean, in some cases, yeah. You probably can't be healthy and have the occasional crack, for instance. " Best. (2) sentence(s). Ever.

gardenofsimple said...

I hate scare tactic stuff. Like 'what to expect when you're expecting' - a friend of mine read that and almost went crazy thinking of everything. I told her to get rid of that book asap and brought her doctor sears baby book instead! :D

It's the same thing with going green. Scare tactics are, well, scary. And stupid.

I've been making small changes for going on a decade. I haven't done everything all at once. I switched exclusively to cloth napkins and towels 2 years ago and for the first time since then I bought a pack of paper towels this weekend (cat's been pooping in the shower!)

I've cut down on chemicals, but still use them from time to time. Sometimes they simply work better.

My main focus is food. I don't always buy organic. In fact I *always* choose local over organic. It's cheaper, and better overall. If you talk to your farmers, you'll find many of them farm sustainably anyway they just can't pay for the organic certification. Plus, it doesn't travel 2000 miles to get to your plate. Saving fuel costs. And it's fresher.

I've subscribed to Mother Earth News for several years. They're a little progressive, but have a very basic down to earth approach, you can access tons of articles on their website.

I don't think going green has to be hard, or expensive. I don't know when green started equaling green (money). Thrift shopping is cheaper and more ecological friendly than buying the latest greatest sustainable piece of furniture. Same with clothes. You're doing more for the earth (and your pocket book) buying thrift jeans than those new eco-friendly 50 dollar pair.

And cleaning supplies. Vinegar and baking soda. I've gone back and forth on borax, since it can be toxic - but those things are dirt cheap. MUCH better than the 5 dollar throw away bottle of 'green' cleaner.

"green" is a trend. A marketing ploy. I started going green years ago as a way to save money. It shouldn't be expensive.

I do spend a bit more money on our meat. I buy local organic grassfed. But I've adjusted other areas of my grocery budget to allow for it. I think it's worth it. It's a tinier bit pricier, but I think the overall benefits (not supporting factory farming, knowing my farmer, proven nutritional superiority etc . . .) in the meat makes it worth it.

Sorry, didn't mean to be so lengthy! I could go on and on about this! :D

Star said...

Thanks, Crystal. :) I know that you've done a lot with living in a more green manner, so hearing you say those things is really reassuring. And has given me some really amazing ideas.

I too had to stop reading the What to Expect books, they were WAYYYYY too gloom and doom in a lot of cases.

And, thanks, Jess. Crack is whack. Lol.