Thursday, September 25, 2008

Green is the new redneck

Little did I know that the word "greenneck" already had a definition - and that definition is the opposite of my intent in using the word in my last post.

The Urban Dictionary defines it as follows:
A person who has "gone green," and is now highly judgmental of all others who they feel are not "green enough."
Make no mistake, I haven't "gone green." I've been green for years. Maybe it's my rural upbringing (my mother gardened, canned food and made bread; my father built our passive -solar house) or my French Canadian, Depression-era heritage (my grandmother raised 19 kids and used to can 1,600 quarts of vegetables every winter). We buy foods as close to whole as possible; buy local meat, eggs and vegetables; reuse many old containers that would normally be recycled or wasted; shop at thrift shops; don't throw out old utensils; and limit and combine car trips. A lot of these things have been born out of efficiency and limited financial means, not a desire to be "green." Here are a few other things that our "green" regimen does NOT include:
  • Ditching a working, paid-for vehicle in favor of a $20,000 hybrid vehicle.
  • Buying expensive "green" brands of cleaning products when a simple mixture of bleach and water or vinegar and water will suffice
  • Buying expensive "green" brands of diapers when cloth works just fine.
  • Buying expensive "green" brands of air fresheners when a sprinkle of baking soda in the diaper pail and opening the windows every once in a while works just fine.
  • Spending $30,000 to outfit our house with solar panels when adjusting the thermostat a few degrees and insulating the house properly uses less energy, too.
  • Buying carbon credits because someone made me feel guilty about my carbon footprint.
Here's a news flash: Every product uses energy at every point in its life cycle, from creation to distribution to acquisition by the consumer to its eventual discard at which point energy is used to haul it off to a landfill or recycling plant. Keep that in mind the next time some green-snot turns his nose up at your paid-for 25 mpg vehicle as he glides by in his hybrid filled with "green" groceries on the way to his highly mortgaged solar-paneled home. He's likely in debt up to his eyeballs (which, oddly enough, brings us around to the present). Only in America could conservation become a marketing campaign that encourages people to spend more, even if they don't actually have the money. The real reason American can't truly conserve is because it would wreck the economy, which is apparently built on a house of cards called credit.

Meanwhile, I'll be at the playground with my son using old measuring cups and spoons, an old ice cream scoop and an old plastic meat container as a shovel and pail.


The WilsonFam said...

Thanks for the great ideas on what to use old containers and utensils for.

Mary Ellen said...

LOL. Green-snots. Thanks for the laugh. I live around a lot of those people here in NYC. We reuse what we can and don't buy much to begin with, as our apartment is only 1200 sqft. But, we aren't trendy-green and don't spend $50 on hats made out of organic bamboo farmed by indonesian farmers and hand sewn in morocco, then specially packaged with recycled paper in Thailand. I don't buy $30 onesies no matter how "green" they are.