On Being Green
When I was a little kid people used to ask me my favorite color. I knew that some kids in my class liked blue and others liked red. There were several who professed that purple was their favorite shade and one girl in my class especially loved yellow. I however, could never make up my mind. I mean really. All the colors were nice in their place. A nice yellow school bus or a pretty red apple would just not be the same if they were pink or purple. Then one day it hit me. I love the color GREEN! Green … like the tiny leaves budding in Spring, or the strong scented needles on our twinkling tree at Christmas. Green … like sweet smelling clover and a pasture full of deep grass. Green … like the moist, springy moss growing between the rocks around the lake. Green like money.
I am a grown up now and green is still my favorite color for all the reasons above. Now green seems to mean even more. People talk about “being green” – recycling, saving the planet, and protecting the environment. I guess you could say I am green. I became green quite by accident. I started as being cheap.
I am an urban homesteader. I try to be as self sufficient as possible in the middle of a big city. I grow my own fruit and vegetables, I freeze and can and dehydrate to preserve our food, and I raise my own chickens for meat and eggs. If I can’t raise it myself I buy local from farmers in my area. I recycle my unused items on Freecycle. I shop at thrift stores and primarily wear used clothes. I make some of my own clothes and repair them when they tear; I wear them until they are threadbare. I go to garage sales and the Salvation Army if I need things. I drive older vehicles and sell them to scrap when they are done. I have all energy efficient appliances and heat primarily with wood. All my light bulbs are compact fluorescents. I even make my own soap.
Do I do this to save the world? I wish I could say yes, but the sad answer is no – I do all this because I am CHEAP! I invest in energy efficient appliances not to save green house emissions, but to save a buck on my electric bill. I wear thrift store clothes or make my own, because I get an evil streak of excitement when others talk about spending $40.00 on a pair of jeans and I bought my equally nice ones for a buck! I drive those old beater vehicles not to lessen the energy impact of industry on the environment, but because I can buy them cheap, run them cheap and easily make a little money when they finally die. I buy meat from local farmers because the meat is better, the meat is safer AND the meat is CHEAPER! I can and preserve so I don’t have to go into a grocery store to be robbed by paying the line of people between the farmer who grows it and my family that eats it.
So does this make me bad? Is my motivation any less noble than the person who sacrifices to save the planet? One thing is for sure – the results are the same.
So next time someone asks me about why I choose to live the lifestyle that I do … what should I tell them? Should I tell them I am a cheap frugal old skinflint? I think I’ll just say I’m green!