Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Earth Week

This is Earth Week, and as always I’m watching lots of shows on HGTV and DIY Network. Have you ever seen Carter Osterhouse? Need I say more? I completely embrace the idea of reducing our carbon footprint. I completely embrace the idea of Carter Osterhouse convincing me of anything! (Seriously, Google him if you’ve never seen him on a TV show. He started out on Trading Spaces. I want him on the cover of my books!)

Anyway, the hints they give on “green living” makes it sound so easy, and I’ve been practicing all types of recycling and energy reduction for years. My compost heap runneth over. All my coffee grounds, tea, fruit and vegetable waste (that I don’t give to my tortoises) go into compost, along with shredded credit card offers and those pesky “balance transfer” checks I never requested and don’t want. I buy dozens and dozens of blue recycling bags for cans, glass, plastic and paper. We've replaced every window and door in our house. I’ve replaced almost every lightbulb with energy saving fluorescents, even though the tone makes my skin look absolutely jaundiced. However, all this energy saving has a cost.

My time, energy and sanity.

Last night, as I was really tired and berating myself for not using my numerous canvas RWA and local writing conference tote bags for shopping (instead of requesting paper or plastic,) I realized that energy saving takes its toll in other ways. I think about what I should be doing when all I want to do is the most convenient method of getting from point A to point B. All that sorting, accumulating, separating and planning takes time. I remember back in the “old days,” when I used to throw all my trash in one (albeit sometimes stinky) container. Back when I turned on a light and it was immediately “light” rather than dusky twilight until it warmed up. Way back when we used to drive around aimlessly in our gas-guzzling cars just to attract the attention of boys.

In many ways, those were the “good old days.” In other ways, they were terribly irresponsible and should not be idolized. Of one thing I’m sure; they will not be repeated in my lifetime.

I suppose that I will have to be content to cruise the cable channels rather than the drive-in burger joints in search of that tall, dark and handsome carpenter-turned-energy-enthusiast, Carter. After all, I’m old enough to be his mother and besides, that would require even more energy (my own.)

Best wishes for Earth Week, and please share any memories of the “good old days” or hints for recycling almost anything. I could use the advice!


Lee McKenzie said...

LOL! When I was in high school - a very long time ago - cruising the drive-ins was a favorite pastime. But I'm pretty sure we didn't think cruising was aimless ;)

My family is pretty good about recycling, but avoiding plastic bags sure isn't easy. I store one folded canvas bag in the bottom of another canvas bag that I use for empty drink cans and bottles. This helps us to get the cans and bottles back to the store rather than letting them pile up, and then we have two empty reusable bags to bring home the groceries.

Great topic, Victoria. I'll be interested to hear other people's ideas.


Victoria Chancellor said...

Hi, Lee. You're right about cruising "aimlessly." At the time, it was the most important thing ever! I grew up in Louisville, KY, where you were judged by your car. Hot cars, fast cars. My first car was a 1964 Plymouth Valiant convertible, four speed with a small block V8. I traded that in on a 1971 Challenger RT with a 383 Magnum. If you know what I'm talking about, you're either a guy or a girl who loves the need for speed! As for the recycling, our city (Richardson) is great about picking up paper, glass, plastic and metal weekly. In Dallas, I think they only pick up once a month. They also do bulk item pickup and garden waste pickup, in case you don't have your own compost heap. I'm hesitant to "turn" my compost because I'm afraid I'll disturb my geckos. I do love the geckos! Nice chatting with you, Lee.

JoAnn Ross said...

Here in Knoxville, we use a private company that's gone to one gigantic wheeled container for recycled stuff they pick up once a week.

Although we've been doing it for years, the best part is, along with not having to sort anymore, they weigh it on the truck when they pick it up and you get money back. Which really adds up when you factor in how much printed out mss weigh!