Archive for environment

Greener than you, greener than me

Posted in current events with tags on October 20, 2008 by Gena Radcliffe

The New York Times posts on “greenarexics,” people who are taking an extreme approach to improving the environment by going without proper heating for their homes or reliable transportation, often imposing their spartan lifestyles on family and friends.

Simon Woods, who is 6, would like to play on a baseball team. His mother, Sharon Astyk, is sympathetic, but is also heavily committed to shrinking her family’s carbon footprint. “We haven’t been able to find a league that doesn’t involve a long drive,” she said. “I say that it isn’t good for the planet, so we play catch in the yard.”

That is one way that Ms. Astyk, a mother of four, expresses her concern for the environment. She has unplugged the family refrigerator, using it as an icebox during warmer months by putting in frozen jugs of water as the coolant (in colder weather, she stores milk and butter outdoors). Her farmhouse in Knox, N.Y., has a homemade composting toilet and gets its heat from a wood stove; the average indoor winter temperature is 52 degrees.

The article also profiles David Chameides, who is collecting a year’s worth of wasteful garbage in his basement (to no one’s surprise he keeps a blog about it, undoubtedly with a book deal in mind), Anita Lavine, a mother of two who has been using the same Ziploc bag over and over for a whole year and Jay Matsueda, who broke up with a girlfriend when she refused to give up her gas-guzzling truck and only gives friends “environmentally conscious” gifts, such as a copy of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth or reusable eating utensils.  He also happily admits to urinating on his lawn in order to save water.

The article is less congratulatory than head-shaking, though I would have liked to have seen the writer make more than just a passing reference to the fact that Ms. Astyk considers herself a pioneer in saving the planet despite having four children.  The hypocrisy of the media bombarding us with the message that America is mostly to blame for the current state of the environment due to our wasteful overconsumption while applauding multiple child households like the Duggars and the Gosselins for their “old-fashioned family values” is so thick you could cut it with a knife.  Not a plastic knife, though, those aren’t biodegradable.

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