It ain't easy being green


Do you have that friend? The one friend who follows you and others around the house, apartment or residence hall waiting for you to turn the room light off? And of course, when you forget to switch off the light they pointedly glare at you and then deliberately correct your mistake. It's the same person who shuns plastic water bottles, shopping bags and preaches the dangers of global warming at any chance possible.

That friend — yeah, that would be me.

I am the person in The Daily Targum office that has made it my mission to promptly shut off the bathroom lights after someone conveniently forgets. I strictly divide up my garbage, placing it in the proper paper, plastic or trash container. I feel guilty when I do not recycle, forget my cotton shopping bags, choose the grocery store over the local farmers' market and have not seen "An Inconvenient Truth." I will walk throughout my apartment randomly during the day unplugging any appliances not in use. And when my housemate goes home for the weekend I even shamelessly sneak into her room to turn off her surge protector. What can I say — I have green fever.

This is not to say that I am a raw food only, let it mellow if it's yellow, one-minute shower greenie. I have to admit — sometimes it is much easier to pretend that I am saving the planet than actually following through with it.

It is hard to live up to the highest green expectations. Hot water showers in the morning, every morning, are my saving grace most days, and I am pretty sure that I would not be able to survive without them. There is also the slight problem that I am extreme clean freak — I consider it absolutely unacceptable for me to wear a pair of jeans more than once. They must always be washed due to the amount of inscrutable dirt I believe covers them after sitting down in University desks all day. It does not matter if the socks I am washing were worn for only three hours, and that it is unnecessary to waste precious water on them. To me, clean comes first. Also, I like hairspray, no matter how many chlorofluorocarbons it releases into the ozone layer.

Being green and eco-friendly became a fashionable trend. We have all seen the uncountable number of celebrities daintily carrying their "I am not a grocery bag," or, the ever so clever, "Don't be mean, be green" canvas totes. Buying a Prius receives equal rag-mag coverage as the new Lady Gaga outfit. And so, green living tends to fall by the wayside, pushed aside and dismissed, seen only as a popular culture trend, much like adopting way too many foreign children or carrying around small dogs. Honestly, how can implementing a greener lifestyle not be seen as a joke after the "Brooke Knows Best" episode where Brooke Hogan's crazy roommate shuts off the shower because Brooke wasted too much water?

And yet, I do believe that there is hope. Becoming green does not need to consume one's life. Becoming green also does not mean that you need to believe in global warming, you can still continue to assert that global warming is a Democratic conspiracy meant to scare the unassuming and naïve masses. Heck, you can still eat as much red meat as you can cram into your gullet. Because, the cow farts are not killing us. It's sheer laziness that is.

We all know that plastic water bottles are bad for Mother Earth, and yet, we continue to buy Poland Spring like no one's business. Switching over to aluminum water bottles takes little effort and makes a big difference. Buying a Brita water filter and Gaiam reusable bottle has not only made me feel like I am doing my part, but it has saved me so much money. And if I do say so myself, my snazzy green water filter and bottle look pretty awesome.

Another tried and true step for the greenie beginner is to replace incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent light bulbs, or CFL bulbs. And I get it, some feel that CFLs cast an unflattering light. But even just placing CFL bulbs in your basement or kitchen helps.

The small stuff really does make a difference. You do not need to replace your toilet plumbing to decrease the water flow to make an impact or recycle your pee into drinkable water. Being green is a matter of baby steps. No matter how cliché it sounds it simply comes down to caring enough about our planet to make tiny lifestyle changes — changes that in the long run will really define us as the "Green Generation."

An eco-friendly lifestyle is also not grounded in politics. Recycling paper does not mean that you are supporting the Democrats and betraying your Republican counterparts. It also does not mean that you support Al Gore. It just makes sense.

To be green is to be selfish. It means that you enjoy the space that you live in. It means that when you walk down the street and smell the now-blooming tulips randomly scattered in New Brunswick, you want those flowers to still bloom years from now. And it means that you never ever want to live in outer space while tiny square robots clean up our polluted mess left behind on earth. The small stuff really does make a difference. You do not need to replace your toilet plumbing to decrease the water flow to make an impact or recycle your pee into drinkable water. Being green is a matter of baby steps. No matter how cliché it sounds it simply comes down to caring enough about our planet to make tiny lifestyle changes. Changes that in the long run will really define us as the "Green Generation."

An eco-friendly lifestyle is also not grounded in politics. Recycling paper does not mean that you are supporting the Democrats and betraying your Republican counterparts. It also does not mean that you support Al Gore. It just makes sense.

Emily Borsetti is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in English and art history. She is the associate copy editor at The Daily Targum.


Emily Borsetti

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