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Gripes of a “moderate” enviromentalist

October 6, 2009

I consider myself an environmentalist, but I have to cop to being a moderate: not in what I believe, but in what I actually do about it. I buy recycled paper goods, within reason: my 4 year old put the kibosh on recycled toilet paper, and not dealing with the whining about her “scratchy butt” became more important to me than the trees. (And yes, I know the fluffy, quilted Charmin comes from old growth trees!)

I’ll make up for it in other ways: we use cloth napkins; enviro-friendly soaps, detergents and fabric softeners; switched to all cfl bulbs; we buy organic- and local at the farmers’ market (we have a great circuit of farmers’ markets in OC); we drive less than 8,000 miles per year between 2 cars; I recycle everything I can; carry my own shopping bags everywhere I go (I could spend thousands at reusablebags.com) ; donate all used items to charity; and teach my child to respect nature. You just have to ask and I’ll donate to just about any conservation or animal rights group. I’m riled up about climate change legislation, too!

And yet…I’ve got gripes. Number one: nature can be really, really dirty. Somewhere in my brain’s sense of the beautiful balance of nature, that means there should also be fantastic natural cleaning products. I don’t mind a little extra elbow grease when I scrub my sink, etc. It’s the clothes that are my beef. I don’t have anything dry-cleaned if I can avoid it (labels be damned!) If it’s a suit or something that must be dry-cleaned, I’ll take it to a “green” shop like Celebrity Cleaners in Newport Beach. I’m using all the enviro-safe products when I do laundry at home, got the high-efficiency machine – I guess I’m saying I’m doing my part. But I scrub and pre-soak and scrub some more, only to end up with a lot of new cleaning rags. Stains just don’t come clean! (But those rags do have a lovely lavender scent.)  Of course, this means I have to go consume some more to replace those rags – which may be great for the economy, but I think defeats the purpose of the enviro-friendly detergents in the first place.

Then there are nature’s uninvited house guests, and my struggles to convince them to leave. But that will have to wait ’til another time.

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