Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Fall of an Environmentalist

I used to be an environmentalist. Really, I did. I was a pretty good one, too... solar panels on our roof, a greywater collection system under our kitchen sink, four compost bins in the backyard, a 40 mpg car that we only used when really needed. I was such an eco-freak that other people actually asked me for advice on eco-friendly living. But then I became a parent. And oh my has my world turned upside down.

Our daughter came home about a week and a half ago from Thailand where we adopted her. Since then I have made two trips to Target, have made daily trips to the garbage can (whereas I used to just empty our inside wastebaskets on trash day, we generated so little), wasted more food and water then I ever thought possible and have found myself on numerous occasions thinking of things to buy, just because our daughter would love them. Before we left for Thailand I was all set to use cloth diapers. Upon our return, jet-lagged and with more than a bit of anxiety due to being thrown into parenting during the 'terrible' twos, I found that rinsing a poopy diaper in the toilet at 2 am was just one thing that I could not handle at that point. The next day I found myself at Target buying disposable diapers (chlorine-free from "Nature Babycare", but disposable nonetheless) and a large Starbucks Frappachino. Oh how the smug enviro has fallen.

So here I am, finally over my jet lag and slowly getting into a parenting routine and I am ready to take a step back and evaluate how I can be a good mother and a good environmentalist. The one thing that I feel we are doing right so far is teaching our daughter the joys of a backyard garden. She now happily eats her way through our backyard (see above photo), snacking on raspberries, strawberries, currants, mulberries, and sugar snap peas. We have a ways to go to get back on the green path, but hopefully this month of July will be full of inspiration and good ideas for us. And maybe, just maybe, I can face those cloth diapers now that my head is back on straight!

1 comment:

Kris said...

Children are one of the greatest humbling experiences. Don't be too hard on yourself. I had plenty of experiences where I said "when I have kids, I'll never (fill in the blank" and then found that I did the opposite. In the early years, it is sometimes a matter of survival.