Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Green Is The New Black

For a while, when I was in my twenties, I was, like, a rabid Marxist eco-warrior type. And vegan, to boot. Which means that, you would only have found me fun if you were also a vegan Marxist eco-warrior type, which itself means that you probably living, like me, in the Pacific Northwest and studying something useless like philosophy or cultural studies or the history of new social movements and prone to get drunk on organic wine coolers and pontificating loudly about how cow farts were burning holes in the ozone. (Or, in one case, getting drunk at a wedding at the Georgian Club in Vancouver and lecturing the entire room on the evils of veal. That My Bad Husband stuck with me after that is testament to his deep and abiding love for me, and his tolerance for my weirdness if it means that he'll be gettin' some later.)

Anyway. I grew out of it. Which is not to say that I grew out of my concern for the health and well-being of the planet, but that I realized that - once the baby-doll-dress-and-army-uniform of the vegan grunge grrl squad passed out of fashion - I didn't like the clothes. And that I did, actually, really like cheese, and that I had a weak spot for leather bags and shoes and that it was, accordingly, getting harder and harder to (literally and figuratively) walk my talk. Also, I figured out that Marxism really had very little to do with Marx, and that Nietzsche was far more interesting, but that it's far less interesting to get drunk and stand on chairs and ramble on about what he really meant when he said that God was dead than it is to get drunk and be all militant about some cause or another.

So I gradually became a quiet environmentalist. And, I gotta say, a sorta lazy environmentalist. It's easy to be rigorous when you're militant, because rigor is your schtick. But when you've already slid partway down the slippery slope of leather shoes into complete environmental irresponsibility, you find that you're more likely to lay back and slide on your ass and hope that the reverse traction caused by your butt-cellulite - packed on by all that cheese - slows your descent.

It's the lazy environmentalist in me that loves The Green Book, by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen (with contributions from people like Will Ferrell and Jennifer Aniston and Tyra Banks and other people who have no cellulite and so need more effective ways to keep from sliding down slippery slopes). It's cute and (yes) green and it fits in my Coach bag and its exactly the sort of cunning little book that I can whip out while I'm on the subway or pushing the stroller through the park and peruse tips for making my life more green. Easy tips. Tips like, don't take your ATM receipt. And, brush your teeth in the shower (this from Jennifer Aniston, who, you know, could probably afford a whole separate tooth-brushing room complete with on-call dental hygienist). And, ditch your answering machine (though really, who hasn't done this already?) And, use Blu-ray discs instead of traditional cds (more storage, more recyclable - I did not know this). And - wait for it - look for shoes and bags made with recycled materials (there're all variety of cute ones out there - Matt & Nat, based in Montreal, make gorgeous stuff.)

Like I said, easy. And easy makes it more likely that I'll act. And acting more... well, that takes me a step further. That takes me closer - back to, forward to - that place where I get really, really passionate about these things. Where I want to do more, regardless of whether it's easy or not.

Where I get drunk and preach the virtues of caring for our planet.

That's a good place to be. And if The Green Book works as a little bit of guidebook for that journey, and a little bit of kick in the pants, that's a pretty awesome thing.

Go, find it. Read it. Use it. It beats calling for a culling of old people.

Loving the earth doesn't mean you can't wear hot pink boots.


Lisa b said...

Ah it is a slippery slope. I've been down it myself. I wasn't a marxist though. Just and enviro-geek.

Roz said...

I don't get the answering machine thing. And does that mean that Jennifer Aniston is having 2-3 showers a day? Is that green? Seems like I'm doing it all wrong... ;)

JahFreedom said...

I'm from Florida and "culling of old people" sounds like a pretty great idea. Especially if we can tenderize them for a reverse veal "Soylent Green". MMMMM....oldsters.