Dr. Sophia Grant: With Earth Day on the horizon, I wonder how I'll spend my day.
Will I think of how far I have come, or fall victim to my Eco Guilt? (What is that, pray tell? I define it as doing a lot to be ecologically conscious, but then feeling a great deal of remorse for not going all-out.)
I have always been aware of environmental issues. I really can't recall a time when I was not concerned about the consequences of overusage of natural resources. As a child, I did my best to turn off lights and recycle cans. Later on, I was thrilled to have curbside recycling come to our neighborhood. I have moved since then, yet we still continue to separate trash (paper, plastic, metal and glass) and schlep it down to the recycling center.
I once dated a guy whose major appeal was his eco-awareness. By the same token, I was completely turned off by a guy who told me he has simply discarded his used motor oil in the trash. What a slob!
Now that I am a mother, I have tried to teach my kids how to minimize their carbon footprint. Some of what I do includes recycling clothing. My eldest child's clothes have gone through four girls! Gymboree stuff never wears out! We recycle paper by using the reverse sides of everything. When used up, it gets tossed in the paper bin for further recycling. I don't buy water bottles or juice boxes. Everything goes into a little canteen. I have taught the kids to turn off lights and use fans. Under no circumstances are the kids to just leave water running!
Other eco-friendly choices include using a front-loading washer, always with cold water. I group my errands together to minimize my driving. I never buy anything in Styrofoam. I soon will be hanging my clothes on the line to dry. Our former neighborhood bylaws forbade me from doing so, likening a clothesline to having a decomposing car in the driveway. I have even brought home bottles and cans from vacation when a proper receptacle for their recycling was not located.
But sometimes I feel that it's not enough. I feel guilty that I used disposable diapers on the kids. And why don't we have solar panels yet? What about that windmill I wanted to put in the yard? Why am I not really living off the land? The list goes on. My husband vetoed the chicken coop idea. I don't think we're zoned for it.
On Earth Day, rather than weigh myself down, I have decided to just enjoy nature. I'll ponder the gorgeous oceans, marvel at the mountains, breathe deeply and be thankful for our beautiful planet.