Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Confessing I'm not perfectly green

There's been a bit of discussion lately in the blogosphere about the pressure people (women in particular) feel about doing or not doing enough to be considered green. Things that mostly come up are in regards to time consuming self-sufficient tasks like home cooking everything, making your own soap, bread, butter, etc.

I mainly wanted to open up the opportunity for people to discuss what they aren't doing that is green. Mostly because I want others to realize that, no matter what we preach, sometimes it's really hard to consistently practice everything we suggest.

So, here's my confessional.

Clothes dryer: I've been using the clothes dryer for pretty much everything besides my jeans, pants and sweaters. But, only the ones that have to be air dried lest they shrink up and I look like a crazy person wearing miniaturized clothes. The main problem has also been that it takes so many days to dry that things start smelling musty and gross. Plus, I'm just lazy.

Water conservation: I've been taking longer showers since it's been cold. I still use my shower head valve to reduce the water pressure, but sometimes I forget I have it on full blast (particularly when I commence my round of singing jazz standards) and don't realize that I haven't turned it down until the end of the shower.

Central heat: I was doing really well keeping the thermostat low and then we had guests and I didn't want to kill him so we turned the heat up to 70 so the basement wasn't sporting icicles. We haven't been as good about turning it back down again now that we've been spoiled with warmer temperatures.

Homemade cooking: While we still make all our meals, I haven't been making my own butter or bread lately. I'd like to, but my schedule makes it really tough to do without a lot of planning. I do still stick to focusing on local, organic and fresh ingredients and won't buy imported fruits (although I was awfully tempted to buy that flat of blueberries from Chile for $6 yesterday, but didn't).

Miscellaneous items: I haven't made soap in a year, I've switched back to using mainstream shampoo (most of the time), I drive to work, I eat Skippy peanut butter, I use Colgate toothpaste, drink the occasional Diet Dr. Pepper and don't always buy stuff at thrift stores.

In other words, I have a lot of room for improvement. Do I feel guilty? Sometimes, but I do the best I can given the circumstances. One could certainly argue that I could do more, but if I were to list the things I do do, they would outnumber the things I don't. So, I don't sweat it.

And, while I do preach a lot of eco-changes, I sometimes don't get around to always doing them. I am human after all.

What are some of the things that you indulge in that aren't very green?


Chili said...

My husband used to call me a hypocrite -- that I should practice more what I preach! I'm with you on the dryer and too many other non-green ways to mention like still using the plastic bags the grocery store give us (please don't shoot me!). Another thing that I can't be rid of just yet is commuting to work over 100 miles a day. I carpool, but there's just no hiding from commuting (although they talk of more mass transportation to this area but they tried it before, and there's just not enough people - we'd still have to drive about 24 miles to get to the bus). We think about the things we do all the time now and our new saying is "What would Greenpa do?" and we end up leaning toward the green side (because Greenpa wouldn't throw that non-rotted part of the onion away or do use the electric garage door opener!)

flutter said...

Forgive me, internets, for I constantly sin. It's...well, it's been a while since my last confession.

Gluttony has led me down the path towards delicious take-out (or, even more sinful!, delivery) food in disposable plastic or styrofoam containers.

Lust encourages me to use hormonal birth control, which is carried via my waste into rivers and streams.

Greed grips me, and I continue to purchase/consume products which I do not need because I want them.

Wrath causes me to waste gas through aggressive driving, lowering my MPG and adding to the negativity in our world.

Sloth shows up every time I lie on the couch and stare at the TV even though I don't want to watch anything that is on.

Pride has me using more energy than needed to entertain friends both in and out of my home. In my home, I am proud of my decorating and my technology; out, I am proud of my knowledge of the fine restaurants in my area of town. Exposing friends to these finds me with the electricity in high use or driving hither and thither.

Envy culminates it all, causing me to compare myself disfavorably to everyone around me. Negative emotion leads to negative life, and negative lives cannot help but leave negativity's mark in some way on our earth. many trees do I need to plant to absolve myself?

knutty knitter said...

I bought sliced bread - twice! Plastic bags again. I should do more stuff but just can't dredge up the energy.

On the other hand, I still use no shampoo etc and have finally kicked the deodorant habit. I think I have most of the female product usage killed except for the odd panty liner. Tp is still banned for pee but not poo.

I need to get on and kill those produce bags - I'm thinking some gauze ones might be appropriate so that the check out operator can see what's inside. I also need to take my own containers to the butcher but haven't got round to it yet.

One thing I am not getting rid of is the dishwasher. I hate washing dishes! I have washed them by hand for 40 years and am not going there again barring accidents.

Let them who are perfect cast the first stones - I think we're pretty safe there somehow :)

viv in nz

Ecodea said...

I like to feel the water falling on my head in the shower way much longer than I should...

I tend to forget to take my cloth bags to the supermarket...

I buy too many toys for my son...

Most of our produce hasn't been organic lately...

And probably loads of other stuff I can't think of now!

Unknown said...

1. the car - I live in area that has very few places to walk to, and it's the middle of winter and the snow and ice cover the edges of the road (there are no sidewalks in the country). I drive way more than I should, and I feel guilty about it.

2. non-local, non-organic food. I have to confess that my pocketbook isn't bottomless and in light of some necessary house repairs (new roof) it's actually been pretty light. Therefore my food purchases of late have been lees than stellar 'cause they are cheaper.

3. convenience - it's basketball season. I have to bring the teams to a game every other day or so (Bus driver), so the family has to fend for themsleves for meals and I can't with good conscience ask my husband who is already staying up past his bedtime (2 am shift) to cook all from scratch elaborate meals. I admit to having convenience foods on hand for him to prepare for himself and the kids.

4.Thrift. My husband was sent to the store to procure some groceries while I was on the wall painting a few months back and since he couldn't find the Dr. Bronners soap (more like he didn't want to find it) he came back with a gallon - folks I am NOT kidding, a gallon of anti-bacterial soap. I pride my imune system on not using this crap, but when it comes right down to it I cannot bring myslef to throwing out an entire gallon of soap, so we are using it up.

5. Lice - OMG lice suck! Unfortunately I cannot seem to get the olive oil out of my kid's or my hair with baking soda so we regressed to shampoo again until this pestilence has been vanquished

Over-all I do what I can, which is a lot more than most people I know, and try not to feel too giulty about my transgressions, like when we have to use paper towels we throw them in the compost when we're done.

Anonymous said...

I have a tiny phobia about bacteria from raw meat in the kitchen--so those antibacterial wipes are under my sink. I use one to wipe up any mess, let the counter dry, then wash the counter with warm soap and water (because I'm also worried about eating chemical residue). I know that vinegar or alcohol would take care of it, but I'm sort of stuck mentally. Maybe I should start keeping a spray bottle of that under the sink? But then, i have to worry about paper towels! What is the answer!

Anonymous said...

Well we've done fairly well..not perfect room for alot of improvement!

We've kept up with:

not using the dryer. What humidty builds up is a godsend in our really dry house.

Using the library for our books, music and movies.

Kept the heat turned down. This year we have done better than in past. DH is unemployed and we can't afford to turn it up.

Buying at secondhand stores for things if we need them. Borrowing when we can on tools.

We still have loads of stuff we canned and preserved from our gardens.

We made or got gifts from thrift store for Christmas and b-days.

Using homemade soap and cleaning products.
Cooking each meal from scratch

recycle everything still

Things we've dropped off on doing:

Our carpooling has dropped off dramatically. Gotten lazy with baking bread and forgetting our cloth bags when we do shop. Forgotten to turn off lights when we aren't in room. But our electric bill hasn't gone thru the roof yet..we went back to mainstream shampoo. Our worms died because we messed up so no composting kitchen scraps. Bought batteries for walkman and they weren't rechargables....wanted to listen to walkman but didn't have enoguh money to get rechargables.

For all the stuff we've kept up with I'm real proud of us. Could we imporve? Oh most certianly.

Unknown said...

I am guilty of many sins:

I drive by myself to work, even though a coworker lives down the street. She's a smoker and I just can't get myself to ride in her van, and she won't just hop a ride with me every day.

I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. I buy 2 liters and fill my reusable insulated stainless steel mug and recycle the bottle...but it's still soda, and it's still bad.

I use the clothes dryer for about half of our laundry. I'm working towards a remedy, but have to wait until our basement is dry, which is going to be a huge expense.

I don't buy all organic or local produce, especially during the winter. I just can't afford it.

I'm sure there's a lot more, but this is what comes to mind. What I like to focus on is what I DO do, and try just a little more each day. Thanks Crunchy for telling us it's okay!

Anonymous said...

I'm online even AFTER work hours to check e-mail and the internet (doing it DURING the time I'm at work is okay, it's my own home business and the computers are on so we can do programming on differet systems).

I've not yet started making my own miso, tempeh, or soy sauce, and those I buy aren't of local origin.

I'm using the dryer over the winter, rather than getting things half dry outside on the line and then letting them dry on a rack inside.

I haven't put up a cold frame this winter, so I'm not getting any lettuce/spinach/other greens. OTOH, I'm AM doing very well with bean and radish sprouts....

I've been blessed with tendonitis, so I'm not allowed to vacuum (yay!), but I'm also not allowed to knead bread (oh, snap!).


Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Thank you for this post because I have been having a lot of my own environmental guilt lately.

Right before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were shocked to discover that at 25+ weeks pregnant, our second baby has a companion. After much thought, we have decided to forego cloth diapers which we used with our first child. We are completely overwhelmed by the thought of twins and I am just not sure that I'm going to be able to handle all the extra work of cloth, at least initially. (I'm not sure my washer could handle it either.)

Our guilt is compounded by the fact that our family car, a Toyota Prius, is going to need to be replaced by an SUV or a minivan because we can't fit three car seats in it.

shabadeux said...

Oy... confessions...

1) I take really long showers. I like nice, hot water in my showers. I usually use the majority of the water in my tiny apartment water heater. I know this is bad and I know I need to cut back, but I'm keeping my heat low and it's cold right now!

2) I don't buy much organic produce because I really cannot afford it. Even at the farmers' market the prices are high. I could drive downtown to another market (best on weekends), but there it's hard telling what's local and what's not. I am making steps to buy more responsible meat... visiting a farm this week to stock up.

3) I drive to work by myself. And the saddest part is it's only 3 to 3.5 miles. I want to work up to walking to work and I really want to save for a bike. One of my goals this year.

I'm sure there are others, but those are the big ones.

Jena said...

I took a little break here to think about what I'm NOT doing. Here's what I came up with:

Like knutty knitter - I am not giving up my dishwasher. I thought it was dead last week and I wanted to cry. However, I don't feel bad about this one at all. I know there is a debate about what is actually worse and I know that compared to the way I hand wash (rinsing every dish under running water) I probably save a lot of water using the dishwasher.

Like tameson - I can't justify throwing out my enormous stock of supplies from my frugal-but-not-green days so we are using conventional toothpaste, shampoo, hand, body, and dishsoap until gone. We've switched to homemade versions of dishwashing detergent and laundry soap. I did try to donate my conventional products and the charity never called me back so fine, I'll keep 'em.

Potato chips - we both take these in our lunch most days which means we put a lot of empty bags in the trash. I plan to explore homemade versions but am afraid they won't keep well.

Ziploc bags - also on my list is to get those reusable sandwich wrappers/baggies because we use a lot of ziplocs.

Eating out - even though I feel like we're good about this, our Quickbooks shows a LOT of eating out which usually includes throwing away the cups with the plastic lids and straws.

The Works - I have tried cream of tartar and other homemade cleaners and nothing seems to work on the rust from our hard water. I'm still using up my supply of the Works and may buy more.

Burning barrel - I burn a lot of our trash that is not recyclable, at least lately. Our dog food and calf milk replacer bags can't be recycled because they have a plastic liner. We do try to use them in place of trash bags sometimes.

Other trash - I'm on a mission this winter to purge our house of the hundreds of years of relatives junk that has built up, which includes throwing some things in the garbage can. I've salvaged all I can to recycle of donate but who wants a mouse-chewed jacket or a mounted weasel with a very thick layer of dust on him? Any takers, I'll ship 'em over! :)

I know this was supposed to humble us but it actually made me feel pretty good that I had to think hard to make this list. It also makes me think I could eliminate some of these problem areas pretty easily.

Kelly said...

Hi there,
I just stumbled onto your blog recently and really enjoy it. I think it's good to point out that no one is perfect, lest we feel too guilty over the times we might have been better conservationists, yet haven't. I think so long as we are aware and keep trying, that's the key. And a word to those who worry over their dishwashers - I guess there is actually less water and energy used by running a full load of dishes than by doing those dishes by hand. So use it guilt free!

Anonymous said...

I turned my thermostat up too.. It was FREEZING in here. One day in my bedroom it was 45 degrees!!

I have used the dryer a few times as I'm impatient to wait for the clothes to dry and that is what I feel most guilty about!

CuriousNomad said...

I am addicted to Mt. Dew. Although after my disgust of trying to buy jeans last night, I'm about to try kicking that habit again! Starting now.

I am working on developing better food sources and cooking habits. I figure that'll take the better part of a year!

I regret not having access to renewable energy. A solar panel is on my wishlist. ComEd does not seem to have a 'green' program.

I am not even considering trying to eliminate plastic from my life at this time!

To affirm to myself: I line dry, use baking soda for shampoo, toothpaste, deoderant, walk when it's safe (no icy shoulders), turn off lights, and take short showers. Plus I finally ordered a grain mill, and will resume bread baking soon!

It's gotten to the point that I feel like I've lost track of what's green and what isn't, because I don't even think in those terms anymore. Is a grain mill with some plastic parts, purchased new, green? I don't know.

CuriousNomad said...

I think it's important to realize that no one person can do everything. Even Greenpa shopped at Sams Club (until recently)!

Anonymous said...

I can't give up plastic bags. The grocery bags are perfect for my weekly trash. They are also good for dog pick up. I'll do better.

I keep buying chips and deli meat, especially for football games. (Go Giants!)

But.... this morning I turned off my refrigerator. (Thanks for the idea, Greenpa!) Winter in northeast NY is a perfect time to try to adapt without a fridge. I did not have to throw anything out, making use of thermometers in the mud room and outside.

I realized that between my cabin in VT and my city house in NY, I spend about $100 month on refrigeration. I decided to use that $100 on my food budget instead. We'll see how it goes.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I've been overwhelmed lately and thinking a lot about how this whole green thing isn't all-or-nothing.

I'm still just getting started on green changes, so there are a lot of things on my "to change" list. Some of the things that I feel most guilty about: using the dryer, my Roomba (robot vacuum), throwing food scraps in the trash instead of composting.

My sister and her family are in the process of moving out of our basement. I plan to install a clothesline in the basement, and start a compost pile in the backyard, now that I don't have to worry about her dogs contaminating it! And we're not using gDiapers full-time. I have lots of excuses/reasons. But we're also potty-training, so hopefully that won't even be a decision to make in the near future.

But I have made a number of changes since I began focusing on these things in April. I keep telling myself A) this is a process, and B) even if I slip on some change I've made (like gDiapers), each day is a new day and I have another opportunity to create a new habit.

Anonymous said...

We still drink soda and the occasional Starbucks coffee in a paper cup. When we get behind in laundry which happens pretty often we use our dryer. While we are mostly eating local we still get OJ every week and the occasional lemon for cooking. I have a hard time giving up citrus...

Alison Kerr said...

It's true, I'm less than perfect.

1) I use the drier more than I need to.
2) I spend too much time in front of the computer and TV.
3) I eat non-organic vegetables and fruit and canned beans rather than dried.
4) I keep the house warmer than the kids and I need it because hubby would freeze.
5) I bring plastic bags from the grocery because I use them for kitty litter, which I probably ought to compost.
6) I can't figure out a way to compost all the tree trimmings and leaves generated in my yard so I've been sending them to the dump.

Over the last year I have resolved to feel good about the things I am improving on and just focus on getting better rather than being lost in guilt.

Emily said...

I signed up to get a free programmable thermostat and have not yet scheduled the people to come and install/drop off the thing so we're living with having to manually turn down the 'stat every night. This is somewhat problematic as my husband is not fantastic about remembering and he often goes to bed after me.

While I try to remember the cloth bags for the grocery store I often do not. Same goes for my travel mug when I hit Starbucks.

We are a one car family and I work downtown so I take the bus to work, which in this weather isn't fun (lots of snow here). Although for most of December I cajoled my husband into driving into work, I couldn't face the 45 minute commute on the not so heated bus and the waiting out in the cold.

I cleaned out my garage of my great-aunts stuff which means that we put a lot of garbage at the side of the road. However, some of it was reusable and people did take it (yeah!)

I've been lax about composting, mainly because of the trekk to the composter in the snow. This spring I'll make a pile closer to the kitchen door to make it more conveienent.

I'm addicted to books and while I didn't buy any over the holiday, others bought for me, even though I could have borrowed them from the libary.

I use the dryer, we tried to air dry our clothes but until I fix the washer to spin the clothes a bit better all clothes that are hung out (even in summer darn it all!) smell musty.

There are many, many other eco-sins I've committed recently, including using toothpaste, tampons (still can't get myself psyched to use the Diva cup although the cost savings are becoming more attractive), shampoo and birth control pills.

I keep reminding myself that each day is a new chance to be eco-good and even though I may screw up today, I have a chance to make it better tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'll just ditto Crunchy's confessions except for the Skippy PB. I'll add that my dad, who was trying to be helpful, carted off our entire summer's worth of recycling to the trash compactor recently. I was going to finish sorting it to take out after our baby arrived but my back was hurting too much to finish the task. oops :(

MrsSpock said...

We've done a few things good, but there is much room for improvement.

I may have hornswaggled my son's new day care into using our cloth diapers and flannel wipes, but I have a boatload of jarred baby food in our pantry as well. I need to make my own baby food- and I plan on trying putting some squash in the crockpot today for that purpose.

I drive 35 minutes to work, and there are really no mass transit options in my county. Does it still count as a sin if this new job allows a work from home option once I've been here 6 months?

I have done very well bringing my own bags to the store, but keep forgetting to bring the lovely organic cotton produce bags. And I have been known to buy the prepackaged salad.

I bought a box of Puffs Plus this week when my son had a bad cold/ear infection, and had a raw bleeding nose from frequent wiping.

Because of poor planning, we've eaten out a few times this month.

I don't make my own soap. I, do, however, buy it from a woman locally. Does that earn a few brownie points?

I made too much food for our holiday party, and some went to waste.

I have fibromyalgia, and Reynauds Syndrome because of it- we keep the thermastat at 75 because the cold causes me pain.

We have antibacterial wipes under the sink as well.

I've bought sliced bread a couple times in the past couple weeks. Still made locally, but in a plastic bag. Today I have my own bread baking in the oven.

~B. said...

Glad you're keeping it real! It makes me feel better! I know I'm a long way off from being truly green. I'm slowly making progress, but its hard to convince hubs sometimes to go along with some of my ideas so I have to take it nice and slow for him! So I probably have way too many things to list here that aren't considered green! ;)

Farmer's Daughter said...

Great post. I think making confessions is great. In my classroom, I'm very cautious to show my flaws and help students realize that I'm not perfect either. However, I've realized that my positive attitude leads to me showing off all the good things I've done on my blog, but I don't really talk about what I haven't done, unless I'm making plans to improve it. So here are my confessions:
I haven't cut down on driving. I don't drive all that much, but I drive to work everyday (20 minute commute) and I drive to my grad classes (45 minutes). There is no public transportation here and there are no sidewalks, so I'd rather drive than risk getting hit by a car by walking to the grocery store.
I use the dryer! And I like it. Our high capacity machine means I only do about 2 loads of laundry a week, so that's my justification.
I like taking hot baths. I used to take one every night, but now I've cut back to taking them only when it's really cold (now!). I figure if I read an eco book while I'm in there, it's okay. Our house is really cold thanks to Freeze Yer Buns, so it's a really nice way to warm up.
Okay, I think that's it!

Anonymous said...

I use my dishwasher and love it -- no guilt there.
I use my clothes dryer for flannel sheets, and a few other circumstances. I rationalize it by my mildew allergy.
We buy non-organic products, and majorly non-local products, primarily at Asian stores, for at least a 1/3 of our diet.
We buy plastic stuff, cheap and durable, I do feel guilt when I don't take care of it (leave it outside in on again off again freezing weather).
I take plastic bags at stores sometimes.
I use commercial cleaners and personal care products.

Erika said...

I have so many confessions, I'll just list the ones that I think are big for me.
1. I live in Western Washington, and therefore use my clothes dryer much more than I'd like. We don't use a wood (or any other fuel) stove, so we can't hang clothes there... I just need to suck it up and quit the excuses!
2. I drive... a lot... and I let my lead-footed husband drive too. I'd like to use public transportation more, but often times, I just don't plan ahead well enough.
3. I've started slipping on to-go beverages. I used to be so firm with my "I don't have my cup, so no drink," policy, but I've taken several cups and straws in the last few months. Sheer laziness.
4. We waste a lot of produce... between eating what we "feel like" rather than what we have and not paying attention to what's in the fridge and therefore over-shopping... at least we compost it...
5. My dog eats Costco dog food. It's pretty decent as far as dog food goes, but it's not organic nor are the meat products humanely raised (as far as labeling goes), and it's also a large plastic-coated paper bag, and all the lovely green-evils that go along with the "conventional" food chain.
I could go on and on...


TheNormalMiddle said...

Juice boxes make lunch packing so much easier in the morning. I tried the thermos/bottle thing with 3 kids, but most days they leaked and their lunch was ruined, which amounts in a very sad and upset 8, 6, and 5 year old....

So, juice boxes, no matter how eco-unfriendly, make my mornings much friendlier!

To compensate, I bought a Camelbak waterbottle and it is the only thing I use ever, no more bottled water, sodas, etc for me. So maybe my karma comes out even????

Anonymous said...

I think the bigger issue here is that people are confusing the issue There are two distinctly different movements here.

You can be perfectly green by buying earth-friendly items from the store and patronizing local businesses that are "green".

Homesteaders learn to make stuff because they want to do it themselves or they can't afford to buy it at the store.

While I do feel that I cut back on packaging a great deal by growing, canning and preparing my own food, when I started that it was definitely more of a health/financial issue more than it was an environmental one.

One option is not any "greener" than the other, it is all a matter of what your goals are.

Anonymous said...

I must confess that I take an occasional hot bath, but only about once per week. I can't buy only organic produce, but I don't buy any fruits or vegetables grown outside of the United States and shipped here. I use my dryer, but let jeans and heavy sweatshirts air dry a bit before tossing them in there. My heat is still set at 60 degrees most days, I've made window quilts for a couple of windows, and dress with layers, but with negative temperatures coming this week here in Western MA it might creep higher. I'm certainly looking forward to the clothesline, garden and warmer temperatures. Ahhh ....

Anonymous said...

I love it! In fact I am working on a post with a report on my list of green actions ... and what I'm still doing well. The dryer is my biggest relapse, and I too have been enjoying having thawed buns rather than frozen. Sometimes I'm heard to say, "For God's sake, this is America! I can use my furnace!" At least until the economy kills us ...

Kelsie said...

I can't give up my baths. I just can't. Winter is the only time I take them, and they're especially lovely during "shark week" when my cramps make me want to claw my uterus out. I think I balance out my bathing habits (about three baths a week) by only showering once a week (to wash my hair...with Dr. Bronner's!!), but I still feel guilty watching all of that water go down the drain.

I HAVE to use my clothes drier with the weather we've been having. I hung some things out on the line the other morning and they froze solid. I have been putting some things on a drying rack in the basement, but they get mildewed if the weather is damp, and then I just have to wash them all over again.

I haven't made my own laundry soap in awhile, but I have been using BioKleen. The plastic container blows, but I've been dealing with sick kitties and home maintenance issues, so I think my BioKleen sin is only minor.

As it is winter and we don't have a farmer's market outside of the summer months, I haven't been able to do much about local produce. We DO have plenty of pumpkin puree from our garden, local honey, and the blackberry jam I made this summer from berries we picked ourselves. We also have plenty of blackberry cordial to nip at on those cold nights. :) I try to buy only organic stuff at Kroger--butter, eggs (cage-free & organic), and flour are all organic. I can't get organic cheese, so I buy the hormone-free stuff. I did buy some cheese from a local deli the other day, and while it was delicious, I'm pretty sure it was imported from England. OOPS. They DO sell local goat cheese, which I discovered while there, so I'll definitely get some of that. I was also really happy to discover that my organic onions from Kroger come from a farm only about 100 miles away, which is pretty local, espec. for Kroger.

I have some styrofoam cups in my trash that I'm not very proud of.

So, like everyone, I'm trying. Triumphing sometimes, failing other times, but always working towards getting better.

On the flip-side, my boyfriend is spending the day building me some fine raised beds out of hundreds of dollars worth of reclaimed lumber, and I've been getting some serious cleaning mileage out of vinegar and tea tree oil. I've also stopped buying anything that contains synthetic fragrances, which was really, really hard for me to do. of course, we're doing the re-usable coffee mugs, cloth pads, hankies for noses, rags and cloth napkins instead of paper towels, and other eco-good things. I do feel really guilty about my neighbor's giant "we moved out and left everything" trash pile, so I've been taking stuff from it and putting it into our recycling bins. I also sent my old cell phones to E-Scrap so that they could be either recycled or refurbished and sent to a 3rd world country.

But yes...forgive me, earth, for I have sinned.

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Haven't used a dishwasher in several years as the hard water destroyed ours (it is now my potato bin/cast iron skillet cupboard), but still use my dryer in the winter. My hubby insists on Dial soap for himself, but I buy mine from friends who make their own. Try to cook from scratch, and for the most part I do...but when I've had a bad day, it's Chinese takeout! I feel, under our present circumstances, with finances being tight, I am doing what I can.

mudnessa said...

I have the normal list as well, the dryer, although if I was not in an apartment I would probably have lines outside. Technology addiction, all my Dvd's, my million and one channel cable, my Wii, my Xbox 360, but we also have an original Nintendo and Super Nintendo that we play so we don't get rid of our stuff. My computers, well my laptop and my husbands desktop, our addiction to World of Warcraft and the hours and hours we have our computers on playing it.

My big thing is food, I buy lots of convenience food whether it be the plastic containers and such at the store or the fast food we eat way too much. I really wish I could be using less plastic, that is my one big guilt. Also not buying local or organic produce. The organic is just very difficult and the prices at my farmers market is way to high for me to be able to purchase what I need.

I also think about the resources I consume providing homes to my pets, my cat's food and litter, I use a clay litter and cringe but our little one had UTI issues when she was a tiny one and I can't trust her and any of the green alternatives that are just not as appealing to her, she much prefers the bed to those and cat pee on my bed, HORRIBLE!!!! The heat lamps I have on my numerous reptiles, but my electricity use is pretty low for the amount of stuff I have.

Pretty much the normal stuff. I also wish I could get my husband to change a few habits, like his showering.

Kaat said...

I use an electric toothbrush. We bought it over five years ago and the thing just won't quit - I feel bad throwing it away while it still works. I admit the few times I need to brush "by hand" I look like a clumsy clown with a toothpaste beard!

Anonymous said...

In my bathroom, I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar for shampoo, wash with locally made soap, wipe with cloth wipes and use cloth diapers on my son. We use cloth napkins and towels in the kitchen. BUT I cannot let go of the instant wipes that you can pull out of tube for cleaning the bathroom. (cholorox and mr clean brands i think) The tubs are not recycable and a spray bottle of home cleaner and a wipe should do fine, but I LOVE that I can send one of my children in the clean the bathroom and all they have to do is wipe, wipe, wipe. (have you ever seen a child with a spray bottle?) so, I am filling the land fills and not teaching my children green habits, but my bathroom is clean. ( i still feel guilty)

Anonymous said...

Oh yea, I had to LAUGH at crunchy confession of 70 degrees for the guests. We did the same thing and she is right! it is KILLER going back down to 65day/55 night. I don't think I would do it again--pamper the guests that is. I am stuck at 67 right now.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess said...

Thanks for a great post.

Some of my non-green sins:
- I use Ziploc bags and occasionally plastic sandwich bags (for throwing a half-eaten apple into).
I use my dryer (in the winter for sure).
- My showers have been longer than 5 minutes this winter 'cuz it's too cold for me to go shorter than that. And, I took a bath today!
- We get takeout more often than we should.
- I drive Ava 4 blocks to preschool 3 x a week cuz I'm too lazy (and cold) to walk in the morning. (And sometimes I drive to pick her up too if it's really cold.)
- I've occasionally been bumping up the thermostat right before I go to bed, because despite burying myself under blankets, I just can't seem to get warm enough to fall asleep lately.

Honestly, I only feel guilty about some of these things some of the time. I think that overall, I'm doing a fair bit myself to live green and I try to inspire others to do that as well, so I feel like it's OK to cut myself a little slack once in a while.

Sharlene said...

You aren't making your own butter Crunchy? For shame! 50 flogs for you.

Well I am a greenie in training meaning I do way more than most people I know but I am still not to the level I strive to be. I have twins who go through so many disposable diapers. It kills me. I have thought about switching to cloth on a number of occasions but I chicken out. Luckily I will be potty training at least one of them in the next month or so. I buy too much prepackaged food. Alot of the packaging is recyclable but not all of it. I always use a dryer and I live in a warm enough climate that I should really get a clothes line (if my HOA allows it). I fall asleep with the tv on. I don't always buy local. I drive an SUV (gasp) because it fits my family and our outdoor needs nicely. Its used if that counts for anything... Try harder I must..

Mama Kautz said... showers are cheaper than therapy...and better than jail for yelling at your least that is how I justify it :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I have to admit that I am probably headed into a non-green quarter. I am an accountant and during tax season, I'm working 12 to 14 hours a day and so I give my family all kinds of packaged food. :(

Also, without me around to hound them into recycling, they probably will slack off on that as well.

I will also create a lot of paper waste at work, though it will all be recycled.

Like many others, long showers are one of my downfall. I tend to use the shower as my own personal think tank.

I use the dryer and dishwasher as well. We have a humidity and mildew problem that means a clothes dryer is pretty much a necessity in the winter. Otherwise, major snarky towel funk! Yuck!

Good luck to all of you! Life is a journey, not a destination.

Robj98168 said...

My name is Rob and I use my dryer to dry my clothes.
Okay now that I got that off my chest I also buy my butter more than make it, Occasionaly forget my shopping bags, often buy take out food,drive to work, and (gasp) still smoke a ciggy now and then.
I would like to be holier than y'all, and pefection would be nice. But perfection is misguided theory. We all can't be Martha Stewart- and really who would want to? She is a convicted felon!

Spot-On said...

thank you thank you thank you! I feel at least semi normal now, not trying to reach super green status! Just doing one or two things is better than nothing! Plus as much as I tried to convince DH he was not turning down the heat for nobody! lol!

Chiot's Run said...

I too am taking longer showers. And sometimes when I get cold I turn the heat up to 62 (oh yeah and we turn on an electric blanket to heat up the bed at night before we get in). I also forget my cloth bags when I go to the grocery

Maeve said...

Well let's see...

I keep turning up the heat a few degrees, even after getting the horrific bill for last month (though last month had record-breaking low temps).

I buy bread, or use my bread machine, even though I am capable of doing it by hand (the time involved, however, makes me usually unwilling to bake bread).

I have been tossing out compostables, because our heap was buried in snow, and the yard was buried in snow, and I said "screw it."

I don't recycle. The hassle involved to do that here is more than I'm willing to deal with.

I bought the material and thread and stuff over a year ago, to make cloth menstrual pads. It's still in the bag I brought it home in...

A queen sized set of lovely cotton sheets finally wore out enough to render them unfit for service in the mattress-covering department, but I have yet to cut them into hanky sized squares and hem them. We'll have oodles of nice hankies when I get around to it, meanwhile we're still using threadbare ones that have begun shredding they are so old.

I use my dryer a lot. But, the alternative would be doing a load every single day, and I really hate housework. If I was doing laundry every day, just to use the clothes rack, I would not be nice to live with.

I don't use green cleaning products. I plan on trying to make my own laundry soap, and giving the baking soda/cider vinegar hair washing method a whirl. I'm using up shampoo first. If the soda/vinegar method doesn't work for me, then I'll look for some more eco-friendly/scalp-friendly products at the co-op.

We feed our cats really awful cheap food, and I feel terrible about it, but we don't have the money to buy better food, much less make them food from scratch. :(

I drove the kids the half mile to school when the weather was below zero. (half mile is about 3 blocks... so yeah. that was bad.)

If money were no concern, I'd gladly do my shopping at the co-op all the time. But the cost to buy eco-friendly and organic foods and household supplies is significantly more than the cheap options at the big box store.

I get really angry when I think about how artificially low the prices are on "conventional" goods and foods, and how it makes "eco" and "organic" goods and foods look over-priced in comparison.

I do garden, organically (with the exception of the occasional fertilizer. I had a bunch my mother left with me when she moved, and I'd rather use it than toss it. It's just nutrients, not pesticides or herbicides; and I use it in addition to things like compost). And I am learning about herbs and more natural living.

It's very frustrating and confusing, and the economic stresses do not help at all. Mainly because we have young children, and when you start approaching "panic" mode, it's a lot easier to go for cheap & easy, instead of green.

Lisa said...

I posted my list on my blog-

Gretchen said...

I'd call myself "aquamarine" because I'm not really green yet, but trying to get there. Is it bad that I put my garbage in a big plastic bag? The only other option would be paper bags, that tear & don't close at the top. In my minivan, I rarely carry less than 5 passengers (me & the 4 peanuts) and I take advantage of the Texas weather and line-dry when possible. But, I don't feel guilty for using the dryer or leaving on a nightlite for my child all night.

Bottom line: there are a lot of things we CAN do to be more green. But just because we CAN do something, doesn't mean it's what's best for us or our family. At this point, I'm not ready to take a hit in my family's well-being in order to make the planet better. I know, not a popular opinion, but I do what I can when I can to make the world better (I'm 100% off plastic shopping bags, but I rarely buy locally because our nearest farmers market - 10 miles away - just closed!) So, hopefully I'll do a little better in '09

homebrewlibrarian said...

There's so much I don't do like use a dishwasher or dryer (don't have either), or watch tv (don't own one). Then there's the green stuff I do - eat organic and from my pantry, keep the heat at 55 all the time, keep only the light in the room I'm in on, ration water (current experiment: using only water out of two five gallon jugs with spigots and seeing how long I can make the water last), take the bus or walk to work. But there's one thing that I just can't seem to shake - waiting until the last minute to do something which means driving my car. Gah!

Besides that thorn in my side, I have gone out to eat more often and gotten disposable cups/containers because I forgot to bring my own. And when I eat out, I'll usually end up with something that was not environmentally or sustainably produced. I'm still using TP for #2 and haven't switched off conventional shampoo (using up what there is and because my hair is very short, it could take a couple years to go through it all). Oh, and I flush my used cat litter down the toilet (claims to be flushable wheat based litter).

If my sins seem light for some, I have no partner or children so all my sins are mine and mine alone. It's the car thing I agonize over the most. Gah!

Kerri in AK

TDP said...

I'm back to using the blow dryer for drying my hair, and also use the clothes dryer to dry clothes. Once the hotter/drier air comes back (AZ 'dry heat') I'll switch back to air drying my hair and clothes.

I had saved up glass jars and other recyclables for bringing somewhere (because our complex doesnt have a recycling station) and then I freaked out one day last week that all that "stuff" was junking up my little condo. It all fit into one plastic garbage bag and I threw it in the dumpster. But I did fish out six cardboard boxes that someone else had tossed in and broke them down flat, and then tossed the flattened ones back in.

I'm back to using paper towels. Using the cloth towels were making my place too humid, and causing too much laundry. Not too sure about keeping up with the No Poo, either. Touching on the Scents of smell post you had Crunchy, I'm not so keen on the new smell the baking soda/vinegar rinse poo routine is bringing out of me. I'd rather smell like flowers or spring rain. lol

I guess its important to just keep trying things and keep what works, and let go of what doesn't. There are way more things for folks to do than can ever fit everybody's situation.

Unknown said...

I don't think we have to be all be perfectly green. Nor can we, as human beings be perfect all the time. I happen to line dry all my clothes, because in North Texas it isn't that bad, and a bit of vinegar in the wash prevents in mildew issues. When the dryer went out a year and a half ago I just didn't get it fixed to prevent me from getting lazy and going back to it.

But this morning my husband overslept and missed the bus and I had to drive him to work. I bought a nerf gun for a birthday gift this past weekend, because that is what the kid wanted. And to help the mom of the birthday boy out we took the kids to McDonalds to run amok so she could get some house cleaning done before the party.
While I am not perfectly green either I have made several changes in the last couple of years. Line drying the clothes, learned to upcycle clothes for my daughter, started bringing my own grocery and produce bags to the store, cut back on meat, making my own bread again, and participating more in freecycle.
This coming year we have made a no new things pledge and are going to start a small garden that we hope to expand each year.

Laura said...

I like TexasMama's coining of aquamarine. I too would consider myself a speckled green. Very green in some areas but there is a lot of space for filling in the gaps.

I am going to resist the temptation to justify or hedge my less green areas and just spout off about what is lacking. :D

Food: This is a tough one. Our infrastructure has been moving away from sustainable food for so long that the only was to solve the organiclocalsustainable problem currently is money and/or lots of time. Both of which tend to be running in short supply lately. (Did I say no hedging? Hmmm... maybe a little.)

Outcrys: I don't write letters enough. FakePlasticFish could be an excellent mentor for this she is a letter writing machine. I send emails to my representatives about stuff when it is pointed out to me but I would really like to be writing letters to businesses and government officials of all types.

Hot Cocoa and FeelBetters: I find that my lapse in this area is generally when I am most stressed. I got a salted carmel hot chocolate (from Starshmucks of all places) and have since gotten a few more over the past few months. Darn one-use disposable cup. I should flog myself with the plastic lid. ;) Also, as we speak, I am eating some kind of mystery Mixed Candy from the Asian market down the street from me. No doubt it was shipped around the world twice before it got to me. Buying it as well as eating it are stress induced. How green is a massage? Maybe that would help.

Dishwasher: Why is everyone downing themselves for using a dishwasher? From all I hear dishwasher save water over handwashing. Or is that just the desperate writings of a bunch of greenies who don't want to give up their robot dish slave.
Where I feel the most guilt is that we recently bought a brand-stinkin-new portable dishwasher. (We were dishwasherless before.) Maybe we could have thrifted, but we didn't. It is shiny and wonderful and I'm glad we got it.

In other news: washer & dryer (heck yeah!), back to Burt's Bees shampoo, and when in a hurry I print out the bus directions on a whole sheet of fresh paper instead of writing them down on scrap.

Anonymous said...

I own an SUV. Okay, it's technically a "crossover" but it is not the most fuel=efficient car on the block. And I looooooove it!

My biggest indulgence is kids flushable wet wipes. I originally got them so the kids could do a better job of wiping themselves, but now I find for me they are a lovely luxury for #2 and I end up using way less TP. But between the packaging, chemicals that go into them, and all the energy required to produce etc...I feel they are a Green Sin!

I don't shower every day, and I only wash my hair about 2 or 3 times per week, but when I do shower it is LONG and HOT because i've usually just come back from a long run in the cold winter weather.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about all of this, and my list is pretty long, so I'll just say the things that are most common to the comments here:
1. using the dryer. My basement has too much humidity anyway, I can't bring myself to dry clothes without a dryer inside the house. It's ohio and there's 4 inches of snow on the ground, so I'm not hanging my clothes outside to become shirtcicles.
2. Showers. I'm pretty good about taking short showers, but it's pretty pointless to even suggest to my husband that a shower should be less than 15 minutes. And I have been taking a lot of baths lately.
3. I haven't stopped using shampoo or shower gel, or deodorant or toothpaste for that matter. I never blow-dried my hair in the first place, even though I own one (for special occasions!) so that's something I've always been "green" about.
4. I am on the computer way too much, but it's a laptop (is that better?)
5. The heat has been up around 68-70 lately because it's just so cold. I know it's much colder in Alaska, but I've got a baby here!
6. I actually went out in the garage the other day to sort the recycling in order to repurpose it instead, and was stunned and upset by the amount of stuff that I used to throw away. I suppose it's good that I'm getting to that point, but I'm still not doing all I can by reducing what I use, and that's something I want to work on this year.
I think that's the big ones.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Crunchy - did you read my New Year's Resolutions post? In it I'm trying not to feel guilty this year when I can't be 100% green complient (sp) 265 days a year. That's not to say I'm giving myself a free pass when it comes to living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, I'm just trying to not letting myself feel guilty if I have to do some things seasonally, like line drying laundry indoors during winter only, or not following someone else's pet green practise. For example, my focus is reuse and that means I find a reuse for plastic items like #2 margarine tubs.

One particular day when someone made me feel guilty so I made a list of what I do. I found that at the end of the day the list of the my green practises I do is much longer than the nongreen practises.

Sam said...

Growing up (when I was religious), I thought that an angel was keeping track of all the naughty things I did. I would feel appropriately guilty while promising to never repeat the action again.

Now, every time I buy something wrapped in plastic (especially single use plastic), I feel guilty because I think about how Fake Plastic Fish would frown upon me and give me a black star in my book of environmental actions.

I do try my best (and ignore Yoda's advice), to avoid plastic. But sometimes I try my darnedest to ignore Beth's insistent voice in my head.

I have a whole list of sins I've recently committed about which I am keeping mum. These include driving, buying new clothes made by starving children suffering from leprosy in Somalia. and using products with all sorts of toxins and poisons in them, eating foods with high fructose.

Char said...

I bus to school instead of biking 4 out of 5 days a week.
My daughter commutes 35 minutes to daycare because I don't trust the daycares around here.
Only my daughter eats a completely organic diet...
my husband and I eat about 1/2 organic, 1/2 non organic. It has rarely been local lately...
I use the dryer.

Jen said...

Thanks for the post. We do put so much pressure on ourselves and it relieves the guilt to know other people are just like you. We are all doing our best.

Anonymous said...

The greening of my life is still a work in progress. I started with the easy stuff and am working my way up to the more challenging stuff that requires investment in time or money or education; so there are a lot of things that I intend to do that I haven't gotten to yet.

Aside from those things, I'd say that I'm not willing to give up my hormonal birth control even though it's wreaking havoc on sewage treatment plants because the birth control has greatly improved my quality of life (I'm actually using it to control heavy periods at the moment). I also absolutely love the freedom and independence of driving my car. That's not to say that I wouldn't prefer to take public transit around town or Amtrak for visiting family if those didn't suck, but I'm loathe to give up the occasional RoadTrip.

Amanda said...

Well, I have a looong way to go. You know me, I was full of excuses last year. I just needed time to drag myself up the learning curve. But now we're broke, so my goal is to give up everything I used to buy at Target every month.

Except toilet paper. I still can't go there. I live with four males and it's bad enough to smell it the first time. Anyhow, I did tell my neighbors that if they continue to use paper plates for each and every meal, I will come over and steal all THEIR toilet paper.

Patrice Palmer said...

I, too, have some eco-confessions to make. I drive one of thoooose cars, not as bad as a Hummer, but close enough. However, it's paid off and I've been combining trips for a couple of years, now. In fact, I rarely drive anywhere on weekends and now consider myself an armchair traveler via the Internet. Because of the current economy, I can no longer afford a car payment.

I don't keep the temperature in my home as low as recommended, because every time I do, I get sick. Then I miss work, have to drive around to doctors and pharmacies, and increase my general expenditures, which are getting more and more difficult to afford.

As much as possible, I buy organic, bring my cloth bags in when I shop, rarely use my clothes dryer (instead, I hang up my clothes to dry), have planted all kinds of fruit trees (see my blog for a complete list), I recycle as many items as I can, and try to educate my friends (and others through my blog) about environmental issues.

The road to you-know-where may be paved with good intentions, but I am honestly doing the best I can at this time.

Romi said...

Hi there! I run true green and I love that you've shared and inspired so many others to share their green confessions! I started the site because I was confronted with my own dirty un-green secrets and after thought it was time for the hypocrisy of green to be revealed.

I'll be linking to your post on the site tomorrow!

In green confessing solidarity...