Thursday, May 27, 2010

a little effort

I am sure I speak for almost everyone in the United States (and perhaps even the world) when I say that this oil leak disaster has made me unbelievably angry and sad.

If you are a shepherd, or even if you aren't, you may have heard by now about Matter of Trust's efforts to create wool and hair-filled booms to sop up the oil. Shepherds and hair salons have been urged to send along their spare fleeces and hair trimmings for this effort.

And of course we comply, enthusiastically, because this effort requires basically no effort on our part. Allow the hair salon to sweep up my hair and dispose of it? Well, I do that anyway! And then I can feel good about "helping" with the crisis? Awesome! These are the kinds of efforts that Americans can get behind!

Turns out that BP has not asked for the booms; does not want the booms; and at this point, has stated that they will not use the booms. But that's OK, we console ourselves, because we made the effort, and that's what matters.

Except it doesn't.

What about making some sustained, long-term effort that might actually make a difference by reducing our dependence on oil? Nope, those kinds of efforts we aren't so good at. Give up our gas guzzler, or at least attempt to drive it a hell of a lot less? Commute by public transport or shared vehicle? Try to reuse or do without instead of buying cheap consumer crap from China? Grow more of our own food, or make a conscious effort to purchase locally, and forego tomatoes in December and strawberries in February? Fill our freezers with locally-produced food instead of frankenfood like chicken nuggets?

And my biggest pet peeve, though admittedly the most minor of them all: turn off our g.d. car when we run into a store, doctor's office or bank? (Can you tell this last one drives me particularly up the wall? I have been known to leave notes on windshields about this because: COME ON! It is not that much effort to turn a little key! And if your car heats up/cools down a bit while you're gone, big deal!)

All of it, even a little bit of it... too much effort, apparently.


  1. Chin up!! It is getting better--albeit slowly. Our CSA has a waiting list (did you know there's two thriving CSAs in Chesterfield?); most Americans know the term "locavore" even if they aren't one; and upscale consignment has become fashionable. I personally think it's more than effort--it's believing that what each of us does really can make a difference. I fear that too many Americans see living "green" as too hard and too expensive for them, when that doesn't need to be the case. Each time that our families make a choice that is more sensitive to our planet we're providing an example for our neighbor to follow if they wish. I choose to believe that most people really do care about our planet, but need to let others be the trailblazers. So in terms that are appropriate to your blog--let's become environmental bellwethers! :)

  2. You're absolutely right, of course. I guess positive thinking on my part was too much effort yesterday!

    Bonus points for the sheep reference.

  3. I think our culture is changing. I think the onslaught of so many unexpected layoffs and new regs managing exorbitant salary caps (can you tell I live in a banking town and just left a bank?!) have provided an opportunity for many to question what value system exactly it is that our culture supports. I think there are many many more who will decide to screw what our culture says matters and do what it is that they find truly fulfilling. And, many who now have time to remember that we all have a conscience and that we have clearly not been living in any kind of sustainable way and that if we continue to ignore this fact, we might not be living for as long as we thought we would be on this planet anyway. I recommend a book by Marianne Williamson called The Age of Miracles which addresses people in our generation reaching midlife and some cultural/paradigm shifts that need to occur on this and other fronts. It is excellent along with all of her other stuff. Probably not at the Book Garden though.

  4. Although the threat of a fine is clearly not working on the g.d. people who leave their cars running while they do their errands, it is against the law in New Jersey to do so.

  5. Hi Kris-
    FYI- the Sierra Club has a "no idling" campaign with stickers etc. We have them at the ferry terminals and at our local store here on the island. It doesn't always work. I would love to have a citizen's arrest booklet to hand out to folks idling at stores, etc. It drives me crazy too. Good to let folks know about that! Newer cars actually are damaged by idling. Cars older than 25 years are likely to benefit by being warmed up, but hey, how many of them are still on the road.

    I agree. I want to send wool, trying to find a way. Am in touch with Gulf Restoration Network and awaiting their answer.

    Thanks for your blog.


  6. Becky, thanks for the thoughts about the Sierra club. I think I need some of those stickers but the citizens arrest booklet is a great idea!