I am all for being a good steward of the resources you are given. Be they natural resources like coal, timber, water, or more ephemeral resources like money, time, and opportunity. I like reusing things and getting the most out of something. Of course that is mostly because I am cheap and not from some deeper altruistic need to save the planet. I like creative solutions to everyday problems and finding ways to use what I have rather than buying something new. Again mostly because I'm cheap and making the most of my money resource is a pretty big priority to me. BUT, spending my 2nd most important resource, time, to figure out a way to replace something that is perfectly good and someone else already makes just because it isn't "green" is the definition of insanity to me. And in some cases I think it's down right mean.
My first case in point is using fabric as reusable gift wrap. While the idea has merit and can look really pretty, it takes ALL THE JOY our of RIPPING and TEARING open ones gifts!! Because let's admit it, that is a HUGE part of the fun right? Especially for kids! Now I'm not saying you have to use brand new gift wrap paper for every single gift you give, even I'm too cheap for that. But what you can do is get new tissue paper (it's pretty darn cheap if you stock up after Christmas on just the plain white!!) and reuse the gift bags you've received! You get to save on wrapping and still give the pleasure of ripping into the gift to your friends and loved ones! Of course this means you actually have to wrap the gift inside the bag in the tissue paper rather than just shoving tissue in on top of it, but I think this is a good compromise between brand new and that silly fabric idea! And if you have a cat like my you are depriving her of her most treasured possession:
Recently I've found another fantastic wonderful "green" idea that has taken a lot of joy out of my daily life. Reusable lunch boxes. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these amazing lunch box sets that my mom got the kids back in August. What I HATE HATE HATE is that my 2nd grader CANNOT remember to bring his home. I send it to school with him on Monday and I'm lucky if he remembers to bring it back by the following Friday. So because it is the ONLY one we have and I don't have any brown paper bags he's back to eating that awful crap they serve in his elementary school cafeteria Tuesday through Friday. I was seriously so stoked to start making lunch for the kids and get them eating better (especially after counting how many days in a month their main choice for lunch is CHICKEN! UGH! Another post completely!), but now all it has done is create a big source of stress for me and my son. So I'm pretty much sold on the idea of buying paper bags and zip top baggies for his lunch from now on. This way he can just throw it away and not be all worried about bringing home his lunch box. And I will get to see this smiling face rather than the sad disappointed in himself look he gives me when he's forgotten the box yet again:
And last but not least, all natural shampoo. This one gets TWO GIANT THUMBS DOWN from me. Most of my friends know that I fight a daily loosing battle with my hair. It is both fine and curly. Which makes for a wonderful frizzy mess in humid weather. Oh and I live in a temperate rain-forest, so yeah humidity is pretty much par for the course here. So trying to be more "healthy" and more "green" I switched to some hoity-toity all plant based, cruelty-free, organic such and such that was supposed to be better for the planet and nice to animals or some crap like that. And my hair looked HORRIBLE! Talk about stealing my joy!! I'm not a very vain person. Really I'm not, but the one thing I've learned in my nearly 38 years is that my hair is picky and if I don't treat it right I'll look like Gilda Radner from her Roseanne Roseannadanna days. And trust me that is just mean, both to myself and those unfortunate souls who have to view such madness.
So folks in summary, I've learned that my life is by necessity one that I have to live in balance. Not going over board with the "green at all costs" mentality so many get caught up in and keeping in mind the real benefits to myself and my family of each choice we make. Yes it's important to be good stewards, and yes I believe that making healthier choices for ourselves and our world is a good idea. But I won't give up joy, no matter what new fangled idea the enviro-crazies come up with to make our world "greener".
How about you? What "green" ideas do you find just silly? What about ones that you were reluctant about in the beginning, but that over time have embraced? Inquiring minds (well okay just me) want to know!