What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

07 October 2011

Imperfection Allowed

The symbol is smoking because
of all the stress I've put on it. Source.

Something that bugs me about today’s public climate is the insistence upon perfection. I’m all for practising what one preaches, walking the talk, or whatever cute phrase you use to say ‘don’t be a hypocrite’. However, we seem to leave unfortunately little room for changing one’s mind, having a bad day, or just plain screwing up.

I don’t want to come across that way with my environmental-ness. I share tips that work (usually) for me or for others, but I’d hate for anyone to slink away from my blog thinking that I’m issuing booming earth-friendly proclamations from on high and that you aren’t welcome if the suggestions are impractical for you. Quite the opposite, in fact; if my suggestion doesn’t work for you, tell me what does work. That’s the sort of information that I love. And as a gesture of “hey, look, we’re all human,” here’s my own Bad Week on Earth story.

I’ve gone through two reusable water bottles this week. Two. The first one was my metal water bottle, which was actually Chad’s metal water bottle that I’ve been carrying since I lost my own six months ago. I lost his on Tuesday. Or possibly Monday. Either way, the bottle and I have parted ways. I grabbed another (plastic) one out of my cupboard, which I promptly destroyed on Thursday by pulling on the nozzle with too much force. I recycled the bottle, but the lid didn’t have any kind of number or other indication that it was recyclable, so into the rubbish it went. My coworker Triple Major was right on top of that, since I wrote a paper just last semester about how long things stay in landfills. Alas, some things are just meant to be thrown away when they’re broken.

Also making the list of “oh, crap”: Our office (I work at UT’s Undergraduate Writing Center) has a Keurig instead of a regular coffeemaker, which is all well and good practical, especially since it does coffee AND tea AND hot cocoa AND apple cider. Unfortunately, the cups are not recyclable. I thought they were, as I’m almost sure that all the people who have encouraged me to buy one have assured me that Keurig has some sort of recycling programme. Well, they do-- for the recyclable parts of the machine itself. The cups are still single-use, non-recyclable plastic and foil. Drat-- back to bringing my own compostable tea bags (or leaves) it is. And I was so hoping to spearhead the Keurig recycling effort at the UWC.

And finally, it was raining this morning on my bus ride here. I put a plastic bag on my bike seat, as it my wont, only for it to blow off somewhere along the route. Not only did I have a wet seat, but I’m also a litterer now.

How about you? Is there something that sometimes goes wrong for you, despite all your best intentions? How do you avoid it? Do you think I should wear a name tag that reads “Earth Destroyer” as penance?


Anonymous said...

We got an under sink filtration system to take the chlorine stink out of our city water. On the plus side we no longer use plastic bottles of water or brita filters that need replacing about every four weeks. These filters last almost 6 months. However..they do have to be thrown away eventually..plus..once a new filter is installed you have to run the filter tap for 15 minutes to clear the new filter. I keep a pitcher of water in the fridge but no one drinks it cause they just keep filling their metal bottles so every once in a while I dump out perfectly good (but stale) water and refill the pitcher. At least I dump it outside on the plants and not down the drain but still.... anyway that's my partial success/partial failure story.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I get really frustrated with myself for forgetting to take my cloth bags into the grocery store. It usually happens when I'm only running in for a few things and then I remember when I'm checking out. Sigh...

mshatch said...

if it wasn't deliberate no penance, imo.

Su said...

@Delores: I have the same problem with water-- well, nearly. We have a filter pitcher & we refill from that, so no dumping it out, but the filter only lasts about 3 months. And we have to soak the new filter in water for 15 min to prime it. :(

@Susan: I did that the other day-- an unexpected trip to the store got me 3 plastic bags. None of which were available when I wanted to cover my bike seat, BTW!

@mshatch: Yeah, it would be funny to wear that nametag but it would also get old really quickly.

Deniz Bevan said...

When I'm being really picky, I pick on vegetarians and vegans. What difference does it make if you don't eat meat, if the same companies you buy milk from also kill animals for meat? What good is it to buy organic if it's the same corporation that also makes non-organic stuff? And what about all the synthetics and so on in our clothing, furniture, etc. So yea, I feel imperfect when I start thinking about all the stuff that ought to change. I wish I could buy local organic straight from the farm for everything!

Su said...

That's very true. And kinda one of the reasons that I've never gone veggie for conscience reasons-- it doesn't quite fit for me.

Fortunately, we have a lot of local and/or organic options in Austin (they aren't always the same thing, though; some local farms aren't organic), but I know that's not the case everywhere. I'd love to have a little kitchen garden... maybe next year!