I’m being manipulated by the media into rational behavior

I know that there's all kinds of Earth Day stuff going on. It borders on the Hallmark holiday...we can all return to our bad behavior when it's over, so it seems. One thing I should tell you is that I have pretty intense recycling guilt. I recycle my paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic. I save my coffee grounds for my garden. I'll carry an empty bottle around with me until I can get it into the appropriate recycling container (for anyone wondering what those empty water bottles are doing in my office). My neighbors across the street just bought a hybrid and I can't wait to tell them "good for you". I worked for 2 different environmental groups when I was in college to raise money for lobbying for bills like the Superfund Act. It's not a political issue for me. It just is how it is.

My perspective on things have less to do with what Al Gore talks about and more to do with a humble desire to leave things how I found them. I AM that person that wipes down the sink basin in the airplane bathroom. My aunt, whom I adore, requested that I look at both sides of the global warming issue and I still love her. That's called compartmentalizing and I am very good at it.

My recycling guilt reached a peak recently. Part of it was spring cleaning, part of it was just spending some time thinking about it since I just bought a high efficiency washer and dryer and part of it was Oprah. I know how incredibly uncool it is to admit that. Last week, Oprah had a show on going green. As much as I pride myself on avid recycling, the reduce and reuse aspects of the equation have escaped my attention. I'm going to feel much better about myself when I fix that.

So I am not going to link to a bunch of stuff, because the intent of this blog post is not to be all preachy. It's really more one of those "if I say it out loud, I have to do it" things. But if you perhaps find something on here that you could easily make work in your life, that's all the better:

The paper plates I have in my possession are the last paper plates I will have in my possession (make them last, girl)

I will use one paper dinner napkin a day, at most. The cloth ones feel kind of posh anyway

I will phase out my use of bottled water and utilize filtered water and a washable drink bottle

I will carry my cloth grocery bags into the store with me and use them.

I will use up my current cleaning supplies and then choose from the numerous green options when I need to replace them.

No more paper towels

When choosing between two products, all other things being equal, I will choose the one with the lighter packaging, even if it's more expensive

I will stop falling asleep on the couch with the TV on all night

I'll set my thermostat to 65 degrees when I go to bed

When seasons/availability permit, I will buy fruit and vegetables produced locally and/or organically (there's a place a few miles away that has vegetable that are ridiculously good)

That is about it. I'm going to see how I fit these into my life. It's not perfect...I am doing other things that have a negative impact but this is a start. And I just said it out loud.


Comments (11)

  1. crawdad13 says:

    I will no longer buy software packaged in a great big cardboard box, wrapped in celophane, that contains a CD and a small booklet, also both wrapped in plastic, which collectively occupy about 1/10th of the usable space inside the box.

    Instead I will download all of the neccesary software that I wish to buy, as a consumer, directly from the company that makes it so I can cut out the transportation costs and the gas I will burn driving to the store, which is lit by emormous stadium lights, to buy it.

    Wait…I can’t actually do that can I.  Oh well, maybe I should stop buying software altogether, then I wouldn’t need to even turn on my laptop, which would save a lot of electricity since I never turn it off.


  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    There you go : )

    Seriously, there are aspects of my life where I am frustrated by my ability to make greener choices. Giving up my laptop? Never! Turning it off instead of locking it when I leave? Absolutely. Baby steps I guess.

    If I have the opportunity to weigh in on greener software packaging internally here, I will.

  3. crawdad13 says:


    I was only (sort of) joking.  I actually happen to know that Microsoft is launching a big initiative this year to eventually migrate a great deal of global software purchases online.  The only reason I know this is because Digital River is the delivery partner and I know Joel Ronning, the CEO.

    The green revolution is coming and I’ll be right here at the back if you need me.


  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    That’s good!

  5. Barrett says:

    I read the part about one paper napkin and chuckled as I thought of an article I saw just yesterday on "Sheryl Crow’s Solution to Global Warming".  It’s from Fox news, so take lightly.


    On toilet paper, Sheryl supposedly says:

    "Now, I don’t want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required," she wrote.

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Barrett – sounds like some of my relatives (but for different reasons….we can be a thrifty bunch). I intentionally stayed away from bathroom habits in my list. Those I’ll have to track mentally. It would truly be a case of TMI if I addressed those here!

  7. Tim says:

    I’ve always agreed with Ed Begley, Jr. who admitted to not being as green as he was cheap. Er, thrifty. Good for you, green girl. And don’t be rough on yourself, I work in a full and thriving office and if you saw the amount of plastic Ziploc ™ bags in the trashcan at the end of the lunch hour, you would spew. Do what you can, then go outside and feel better about what you did. (For three seconds, before you begin picking up others’ trash.) How in the heck are you going to do away with paper towels? I’ve moved to 100% recycled ones, but doing away with them, that’s a trick I want to learn.

  8. Bad_Brad says:

    I like Sheryl Crow’s suggestion about limiting toilet paper use to a single square.  Actually, when I was in Europe a couple years ago, that’s how the public restrooms were – you paid to use it, and they gave you a square of toilet paper about two inches by two inches.  If we REALLY wanted to go "green", we would do away with toilets altogether and simply construct large public composting bins where we could all do our business.  It could be a real community building thing.  Every so often, a public employee would come around and collect the compost and use it as fertilizer.  Back to nature, baby!

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    Tim – yeah, we do what we can. If being green ends up being too hard, people won’t do it. The whole paper towel thing for me is a study in human behavior. When I remodeled my kichen, I took the papertowls off the counter and put them under the sink. In the last 2 (??) months, I’ve probablyu reached for them twice and now I don’t miss them at all. Must be a case of out of sight out of mind. There’s nothing I wanted to do with them that I haven;t substituted something else for (like a sponge or the old socks I use for dusting furniture—less linty). I imagine it’s different if you’ve got kids though, right?

    I will also admit to reusing ziplocs sometimes. I can’t believe I am admitting that as I recall how weird I thought my grandma was to wash them out and them dry them. I don’t go that far, but as an example, I made chicken fajitas the other night and had frozen torillas in pairs (single girl food storage trick). When I took the tortillas out of the ziploc, I used it for the leftover veggies. I guess I would say I opportunistically re-use ziplocs and, of course, choose a non-disposable option when I can.

    Re: Ed Begley, I actually understand him. It’s hard to separate the thrifty from the green. I don’t want people to think that I am crazy thrifty. I spend too much on clothes, make-up, shoes, hair care stuff. I’m just thrifty on the stuff I can buy in bulk, re-use easily or care little about.

    Bad_Brad, I  am not sure what it is going to take for me to get that image out of my head! Arrggg!

  10. hmmmmster says:

    "Manipulated by the media" I will agree with…. rational, not so sure.  What do you mean, you still love your aunt? How could you, you must be torn about it. She actually thought you might look at both sides of the issue, instead of just following what His Holy Al Goreness hath spoke? You mean, there might even be another side to this issue? Be careful, you might end up doubting! (GASP!!)

      All kidding aside, read this sentence again:

    "My aunt, whom I adore, requested that I look at both sides of the global warming issue and I still love her. "

    Is it only because you adore her that you allow her to have a contrary opinion?

    Manipulated by the media, indeed!

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, perhaps you need to consider employing your sense of humor when reading that sentence. Of course, you are approaching this from a completely unbiased perspective, right? Um , yeah. I can tell by what you wrote.

    And anonymous, yet. Charming!

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