Yesterday, we overheard a fellow earnest person talking about biodiesel and diesel hybrids, and the discussion quickly turned to a laundry list of European car models unavailable to us in the backwards US of A. His similarly well-intentioned friend was reading a book about genetically engineering algae to produce fuel oil. And I should mention that we were on a plane while this was all happening... an especially ironic setting for a discussion about sustainability.
Quite frankly, I found myself first annoyed, and then annoyed that I was annoyed: either of these people could easily have been me! Now, I drive a diesel car; when I lived in Boston, I drove half an hour to support one of the first publicly available biodiesel pumps in Massachusetts, and, in general, I try to keep an open mind to any and all attempts to live a greener life. And what, you ask, does this have to do with the home?
I think we're all guilty of erecting false barriers, like my fellow plane passenger, who stated that he would only go green by buying a diesel car that gets over 70 miles per gallon AND is a hybrid. Or his companion, who looked at a diesel car and didn't buy it because "it didn't pencil out economically." Or, I must confess, like me.
We make lots of choices every day, but the easiest of all is to, in effect, not make a choice: to just go on doing things the way we always have. Home, in some ways, is the environment that we construct to reinforce these choices, to make everyday life possible without stopping to think about every single thing that we are doing.
Thinking about the false barriers to driving a more energy efficient car got me thinking: what do I do that's contradictory to my own beliefs? For one, I have a nasty paper towel habit, because while I don't mind spending $10 for a supersize pack of white Target big rolls, blessedly free of gaudy ducks, flowers, and homespun sayings, what it's really about is my resistance to keeping the rags clean and folded.
So, there you have it: nobody's perfect, least of all us. Now: it's your turn for confessions... and resolutions.
Image via sgarbe84 at stock.xchng