My friend -- whom I'll refer to as Moochi -- and I went shopping at Target recently to pick up a few household items. While I painstakingly reviewed every word on the SEVENTH GENERATION soap box and lamented that Target didn't carry a green alternative to Drain-o, Moochi mentioned she wanted to pick up some cleaning wipes for her car and said we needed to go to the motor vehicle aisle.
I offered a green alternative: "Why don't you just use a rag and some water? That's what I would do."
She wasn't buying it. "I'm too lazy," she said.
"What do you mean?" I didn't see how it was any more effort than using a chemical-filled cleaning wipe marketed exclusively for cars. "All you need is a microfiber rag to pick up the dust. Then you can reuse it."
Silence. No eye contact.
"Erik and I have a microfiber rag you can try if you want to."
"Yea. I just need something for cars." I relented. At this point I figured out that I was pushing my green agenda too far and making her, possibly, feel guilty for not taking my suggestion.
We went to the car aisle and got what Moochi wanted.
It's happened before.
A few days earlier another friend -- whom will be known to you as W. T. Featherstone -- and I were headed downtown. She finished her carbonated beverage on the way and needed to discard the plastic bottle. Featherstone made a point of telling me she was going to hang on to it in search of a recycling bin until we got to our event.
Three train stops, one bus, and 3 blocks later she threw it out in front of our destination, saying something like, "Don't be mad at me. I tried." I laughed and blamed the city for not having more conspicuous recycling bins downtown.
Of course, I wasn't mad at Featherstone. Or Moochi for that matter. But having a green blog and publicly converting your traditional lifestyle in favor of sustainability somehow puts you in an awkward position of making others feel guilty when they aren't able or interested in doing the same.
But as I've SAID BEFORE: being green is a process, not a destination. And each of us must forge her own path.
Alicia on The Mike Nowak Show
Chicago horticulture expert Mike Nowak invited me on his radio show to discuss Earth Hour. LISTEN HERE. I'm about 3/4 of the way into the recording.