Alison Treat | It’s Not Easy Being Green
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It’s Not Easy Being Green

It’s Not Easy Being Green

A while ago someone commented on my blog saying that we sound green. I conceded that we do what we can, to some extent, as much as makes sense for our family.  But I have friends, and know of people, who are much greener than we are.

Straw Bale House Photo Credit
By S Woodside [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

For instance, one family we know has been talking about building a combination straw-bale, earthbag, and cob house. As I’ve contemplated this, I’ve realized that when we built our house we were not green people. At all. The only green thing I’ve consistently done for my whole life is recycle. My parents recycled long before it was cool, so when we got married and set up house I naturally took the extra pains (and it is an extra pain here) to recycle everything we could. But other than that, I kind of rebelled against the natural living with which I’d been reared. I bought Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Jiff peanut butter. I even used instant mashed potatoes. I know, gross. We built a new house instead of refurbishing our old one. Actually, refurbishing the old one would have been next to impossible. But, we could have built something a lot greener. Maybe not a mud hut, but an eco-friendly house might have been a better choice. Every summer I complain that our house faces the absolute wrong direction. The windows are all on two sides of the house—opposites sides—but when we open them at night, the wind just blows on by, not through. So our house holds the heat and our air conditioning bill is sky high. Not very green at all. We weren’t thinking green in 2004, when we built this home. Actually, we were thinking of greenbacks—how to save them. It would have paid off in the long run if we’d thought about the direction of the wind. Kind of hard to do anything about that now. As I’m considering renovations, though, I’ve started researching green options and I’m excited about the possibilities. Recycled aluminum in your countertop, anyone? We’ve also talked about putting solar panels on our roof to supplement our energy supply. This is all in the future. You know, when my novel hits the bestseller list and I’m raking in the royalties.

So it was after 2004 that I started to make some changes to live more naturally and in harmony with the environment. I’m ashamed to say that it took me years to finally put up a clothesline. And I still use the dryer a lot. But we cloth diaper (only at night and naptime now, since Adrian’s doing so much better with the potty!). That’s not to say I never use a disposable or a pull-up. I do. But I stay very far away from boxed food—except for Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells and White Cheddar. We also have chickens, which may or may not be green. The eggs are super-yummy. Almost makes it worth the chicken poop all over our yard, and patio, and front walk. Almost.

But what I really want to write about here is my most recent attempt at going green. I tried to go ’poo free. That’s shampoo free. Ahem. I’ve used shampoo pretty much since I was born. Then I read about another method on Simple Mom. I kept hearing about this from different sources. And honestly, I’m just sick of all the money we spend on personal care products. They really end up getting washed down the drain, right? So it’s pouring your money down the drain if you think about it that way. Making my own household cleaners has worked out wonderfully for the most part. So, I thought, perhaps I can follow in Tsh’s shoes and live without shampoo. She said your hair might need an adjustment period, so I prepared myself for that.
For a good three weeks I stuck to it. I washed my hair with baking soda and rinsed it in apple cider vinegar. But my hair was still a little greasy after three weeks. And, worse than the grease for me, it was just heavy. It didn’t have that light, silky feel when I blew it out with the hair dryer. I couldn’t take it any longer. I caved. And I didn’t even cave to some wonderful all-natural shampoo. No, I use Suave. And when I finish a bottle of Suave, I use Pantene. I’m very, very bad.

Now you know the truth. I’m not all that green. Green with envy, maybe, for the greener folks. We do what works for us. I use reusable shopping bags. We choose organic sometimes and local foods as often as we can. I canned tomatoes and applesauce this past fall. Not saying I’m going to do that every year. And I really enjoy buying yogurt from the store. When people tell me it’s easy to make, I don’t believe them for a second. My homemade granola, however, is to die for. Even if it does make me just a little crunchy. 
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