Not always easy being green – Metro US

Not always easy being green

For some time now we have been exhorting Metro readers to reduce, re­use, recycle, and in all ways live the green life. We think it’s time we acknowledged that it’s not always that easy. We ourselves have encountered various difficulties and inconsistencies while trying to tread more lightly on the planet.

Some difficulties are easy to foresee, such as the fact that bike lanes are not always available and sometimes just stop — leaving the cyclist in traffic; the fact that bike racks are not always where you need them; and that motorists are not very considerate of bikes. When not biking, we drive a very fuel-efficient diesel car. This is great until you are down to fumes and can’t find a service station that has diesel. “Of course, the solution to this is not to let the tank get that empty,” says one half of this team. “Well,” says the other half, “sometimes we don’t fill it up because we hope that we can get home without filling it and then you will have to do it and I won’t get my hands all diesel-y.”

Other difficulties took us by surprise. When doing some recent home improvements we discovered that the only compact fluorescent light bulb small enough to fit into the new light fixture casts a dim glow about equivalent to a single candle. Aren’t incandescent bulbs being phased out by 2012? Don’t manufacturers figure that any light fixtures we install today we are hoping to still be using in 2012? Of course compact fluorescent light bulbs are getting more “compact” all the time, so in time we may be able to put a reasonable light in that fixture. In the meantime, we are using night vision goggles.

We have only recently become aware of another problem with living the green life — baby clothes are not manufactured to fit over a cloth diaper. Cloth diapers are considerably more bulky than their disposable counterparts. In short, our baby, clad in her non-landfill-choking diaper, has a big bum. She has a closet full of cute outfits that she cannot wear except on the rare occasions when she has to wear a disposable diaper (travelling, etc.). The sleepers and onesies that she does wear are too big for her everywhere except over her bottom where they are tight and in some cases do not even button. A generation ago, most babies wore cloth diapers, and not the streamlined designer ones that our baby wears so they were probably even more bulky. Were baby clothes sized differently then? Do we need to get hold of some vintage sleepers?

OK, that is our complaining over with. And when we look into the eyes of the future generation, clad in her bulky diaper and ill-fitting clothes, we realize that whatever the inconveniences are to us, we must continue to try to preserve the planet.

– Sophia Dore is an environmental scientist with Conestoga-Rovers & Associates. Andrew Laursen is an assistant professor at Ryerson University; [email protected].

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