Thursday, May 03, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green

Here's the first of many fun facts about me you probably didn't know. I grew up in a solar house. My father is one of those guys who is good with figuring out how things work, and for about four years in the early eighties he built solar houses with his brother. They started this business together long before it was hip to be green. In the fifth grade I did my science fair project on something called "passive solar design" and I explained all these ways that you can build energy efficiency into the architecture of your house. There are really simple things you can do -- like opening the blinds in the morning when the sunlight comes in and closing them at dusk so the day's accumulated warmth stays inside -- that take little effort but actually make a difference. I think I may even have won the science fair that year (which really says more about the lame projects other people did than anything else) and the concepts I outlined in my project have long stuck with me.

I want so much to be a "green" person. I watched "Planet Earth" on the Discovery Channel this week and it blew my mind. It's not an overtly political show like Al Gore's movie was; rather it focuses on observing and documenting the cycles of nature. Well, at least this one episode did. You all have probably seen more of this series than I have. In the first ten minutes of this particular episode there's a scene where a baby caribou gets separated from the mommy caribou and winds up getting eaten by ... what was it? ... a wolf, I think. I was launched into hysterics. Mommies separated from babies? Babies getting eaten by wolves? It's too much to handle. I declared myself a vegetarian (I'm not) and swore to start saving up for a hybrid car. This is a crazy world, people.

I'm not prone to these kinds of exaggerations, really. I tend to be very even. People often tell me that I seem calm, chill, balanced. A few nights later I even ordered a steak. But I can't stop thinking about how little I'm actually doing to preserve what good there is left in the environment. Some comments, you guys -- what do you do?

I said I wanted to include in these blogs some things every week that have caught my attention. So here ya go. A look inside the very distractable mind of Georgia Stitt.

1. GreenDimes. Yes, you have to pay to join, but it's not super expensive and they take you off the mailing lists of all those annoying catalogs that you don't want. Save a tree.

2. Sleeping Beauty Wakes is a show written by my friends in the band Groovelily and it's the most moving, magical thing I've seen in a long time.

3. These are the best slippers in the whole world. Thanks to Barb who gave them to me as a gift a few years ago. Heaven.

3 comments:

Caitlin said...

Hello! I happened upon your myspace about a month and a half ago by way of Fischer and Melocik's site. I've randomly been listening and I finally caved in and bought the cd. Its fabulous. And I just wanted to let you know I plan on getting everyone in my theater program addicted to your music (I already got them hooked on your husbands). So great job and keep writing the great music!
Also, thanks for spreading the tips on going green. We recently had a campuswide effort at my college to promote green living but theres only so much a tiny campus in North Jersey can do. Good job on the effort! <3

Real History Lisa said...

Keep saving for that Prius! I had a chunk put away, but when my car died and I still couldn't afford the Prius I had to settle for a gas guzzler. Still, it's a small car with better mileage than most, and I still want that Prius and have just started saving again!

After I saw Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth", I started doing something I would never have dreamed of doing in Los Angeles: taking the bus to work! And you know, it's not that much more time, I feel great about not putting my own private carbon into the air, and I have more time to read in my day, a definite plus. I hope regular commuters really consider looking into the carpooling and public transportation options in their areas. We can all do something. And indeed, we must.

P.S. I've nearly replaced all my bulbs with flourescents, which use a lot less energy than ordinary lightbulbs. Another small effort that would have huge payoffs if we all did it...

Brett said...

It's not easy, and everyone makes their own choices -- I decided to become vegan. I don't consume any animal products -- although I have some wool sweaters and leather shoes from years gone by that I can't see clear to giving up.

I'm actually not trying to extol my own discipline or anything like that...because in other areas I'm not a great environmentalist. I try to recycle, when I have time, I turn lights off sometime, I take fairly long showers, I have a big power-hungry computer that I have to leave on all day, and goodness knows my household generates more than it's share of trash.

Being vegan is just the easiest way I find I can contribute, and I hope it sort of compensates for my shortfalls in other areas. So I think each person just does what they can, and it's the fact that they're doing *something* that counts.