Last week, we talked about some of the compromises we'd made in our going green, deciding that it was, as the saying goes, about progress not perfection. We wanted to make our going green as easy as possible. Here are some other issues we've been tackling and how we've found our balance without berating ourselves.
- I live in LA. I have to drive! Emily, my fellow Los Angeleno who writes for the Kitchn, doesn't drive; she takes public transportation everywhere. Green Compromise: While I'll never be Emily (I'll admit that I love driving in my car), I've become more conscientious of my driving. After ten years, I'll be switching to a Prius sometime next fall; on nights I'll be coming home straight after work I try to take the bus; I combine errands; I carpool with friends.
- Sometimes I use a paper cup: Like with solving the water bottle dilemma, sometimes I need to use a paper cup! Green compromise: For the car I got myself a commuter mug. At work, we used up the last of the paper cups and my office got a few sets of nice thick mugs for us all to use. I try to remember to take my commuter mug if I'm going into Starbucks or similar but since coffee is one habit I don't have, I can forgive myself for the once or twice a month I use a paper cup.
- I live alone. I don't like coming home to a dark house: Yep, if there's one thing I hate it's coming home to a dark house. Green compromise: CFLs in a lamp in the hallway plus a timer equals a balance between childhood fears, eco-conciousness and safety.
- I tried switching to eco-conscious cleaning products but my cleaning lady insists that her favorites work better: I came across a bottle of Palmolive in a restaurant bathroom the other day and I was immediately transported back to my grandmother's spotless kitchen. That smell is forever seared into my head with the smell of completely clean. But I'm training my brain to recognize that the lavender smell of the Mrs. Meyer's products I use can also be associated with another spotless kitchen, namely mine. Green compromise: Anything new takes time getting used to. Whether it's yourself or your cleaning lady, make the change gradually, swapping out one product at a time and testing out a few brands before you find something you love and trust. And if you have a cleaning lady, let her know that you appreciate her working with you on this and that she's still doing a great job for you. A little encouragement goes a long way in this situation.
- I forgot my tote bag again! I can't even count how many times this has happened to me. But I've recognized that this is a habit I'll train myself into eventually. Green compromise: Here are some tips to help you make this one a habit. When I do forget, I make sure I either recycle the bags straight away, use the paper ones to collect my recyclables or composting in (and then compost or recycle them), the plastic ones to collect recycling in or as trash can liners.
- My husband hates cooked vegetables! Going meatless is not an option: A steak is a steak is a steak and there's no getting around it. But when it comes to other kinds of meat, there are options. Green compromise: Swap out a meat-substitute where it's less likely to be noticed. There are some excellent ground meat substitutes that can hold their own against the "real thing" in lasagnas, chilies, even burgers.
- Oh yeah, I loves me a long hot shower every morning; a soak in the tub at night helps me sleep: I share your pain. I can lose myself under the shower thinking (and okay, I'll admit it, singing) for a long time. And, a bath at night really does wash away all the stresses. Green compromise: Low flow showerheads, aerators, insulating your hot water heater, shorter showers, and, you own your home, making sure that your hot water heaters an highly rated energy star model that's the correct size for your home are all ways to go. And we do ocassioally take a long hot shower or a soak in the bathtub but now we use it as a way of treating ourselves for sticking to our green guns. We walked more, we remembered and used our market tote every day this week, we went meatless four days, we convinced our friend to buy a Prius instead of a Hummer so tonight we're tubbing it! After all, if we're going to make the green movement more than just a passing fad, it needs to be fun for us as well as good for the environment.
[image from Brad & Sabrina's Flickr with a Creative Commons License]