Thursday, April 5, 2012

Who's Green?

Blessings Darlings!

Earth hour was March 31.  I KNOW I wrote about it a few years back, but I can't find where.  It might have been somewhere other than my blog.  Oh well.  I find it rather a feel-good gimmick, similar to clicking 'like' on a picture on Facebook thinking that's going to change something.

But it got me to thinking about how environmentally 'green' most neopagans are, by looking at me.

By most of those 'measure your environmental footprint' things .... our family uses less resources than 'average' in America.  Which of course means NOTHING, since the 'average' American uses a disproportionately high amount of resources.  And those measurement tools don't count how many resources your job uses.  We're lucky that way - since we work at home at least it DOES take that into account for us. 

But .... if we used our fireplace for heat, using the 100% non-fossil fuel of wood, it would be GREAT for helping stretch out the end of oil .... but it would be TERRIBLE for air quality, pumping incredible amounts of particulates and carbon dioxide into the air.

I'm online a HECK of a lot, as a part of my work.  That means that I share responsibility for the raping of the groundwater in Silicon Valley, the work conditions in factories in Asia, environmental damage from mining and refining rare earth elements used in the batteries and such.

It's not like my coven is in the town I live in, either.  It's 65 miles away.  The denomination covenstead is 190. 

I can, and pretty  much do, recycle every scrap of paper, every bit of plastic, every bottle, etc. than comes into the house.  That does not negate the energy that went into making them, the pollution they generated, the mining/drilling/etc.  Heck, recycling some of them take more water than creating them from scratch.  Recycling doesn't mean not consuming. 

Right now my dishwasher is running.  In part because it uses less water than washing that many dishes by hand, and in part because it sanitizes the dishes better than I can do by hand.  Saves water, saves electricity used for heating and pumping water, but uses electricity to run. 

The fact that I cook from scratch actually causes me to use MORE energy than if I didn't.  It woul be FAR more energy efficient to have a central bakery do all the baking, a central kitchen do all the cooking.  Cafeteria food is efficient.  It is not what I'd like to eat.  It is not HOW I'd like to eat, giving up deciding what to feed my family personally.  But environmentally -  not having every house have a kitchen thus saving on all the appliances, cooking in big batches not individual family servings - is better for the environment.

All this before even looking at the coffee and chocolate issues.  Or citrus issues (that's sure not a locally grown item, either).  Or my beloved avocados.

Yeah, I only spend 12 minutes a week showering - I time it.  In, wet down, turn off water, soap, rinse, do the same for the hair.  Rain water, mostly, for the garden - tho' right now we're kind of droughty already so who knows what this summer will be like.  Clothes line for laundry, but I can't afford to get the washer fixed and the cold water line is blocked .... so it's washing with warm to hot water, not cold. 

Everything has trade offs.  We have cats, how much less can I vacuum without cat hair being everywhere?  How many holes in my husbands underwear before we have to toss it?  Bleaching the tighty whities isn't happening, the better to make them last longer.  They are now tighty off-whities.

The freezer that saves me HUGE amounts of money on food ... uses electricity to run, and wasn't great for the environment to manufacture.  Two cycle engines, like on tillers for the garden, are TERRIBLE for polluting the air.  Deer netting is made from plastic - other mesh is from metals that involve mining and refining, too. 

The 'measure your footprint' things say I'm green.  I look at my life and know I'm not. At all.  "Relative to other Americans' is a foolish comparison.

Frondly, Fern


  1. All examples of behaviors where there is plenty of room for improvement. You left out the the most glaring inconsistency many of us continue to swallow, though. Since we're pagan, we feel we need to live close to the earth. For some reason, most of us interpret "living close to the earth" as "living in a rural area." We miss the fact that the earth is everywhere. We miss the fact that rural fertilizer poisons are different from -- but not somehow better than -- urban manufacturing poisons. We miss the fact that living in a rural area forces us to drive tens to hundreds of miles per household every single day, just to accomplish the same things we could accomplish on foot or public transit if we lived in places with centralized access to transit.

    Personally I feel the neopagan insistence on rural living does far more damage to the environment, on a per-household basis, than any of the behaviors you list.

  2. You're absolutely right, Bob. Rural, or even most suburban, life requires more cars and other forms of transportation; lawns are pretty but high-maintenance; etc.

    I've not looked to compare the amount of, say, fuel use embedded in the life of a person in NYC vs rural Massachusetts but even with the rural person driving to a farmer's market for all natural produce .. well.

    (Yeah, I'm rural. But I'm only 3 miles from the grocery store and 2 miles from the farmer's market (I'm JUST outside of a small town), so I can and do bike it.)

    Once I figured how to 'create' a Pagan community based on buying houses in rust belt cities, near bus lines/trains/universities (because we don't have ONE holy book, we need full libraries of books). South Bend Indiana never would have been the same....

  3. BTW, for those looking for being more natural, check you Matt and Betsy Jabb's site

  4. It's true - rural living (or even in any city that was made for cars) is far more wasteful in general than living in NYC. I'm actually watching a show as I type this that is telling me all the reasons for it. :)
    Mainly I was responding because it was those carbon calculators that convinced me to get rid of my truck. With it, I was over the American average - without it, I was below the world average. It's never enough, but every bit of it is necessary.