Nobody's Perfect: Confessions From an Eco-Warrior

Issue: 
March 2011

I’m confessin’ that I love you
Tell me do you love me too?
I’m confessin’ that I need you
Honest, honest I do

“I’m Confessin’,” a classic written in 1930 by Doc Daugherty, Ellis Reynolds and Al Neiberg, was made popular by artists including Perry Como, Anne Murray and Van Morrison. I must confess that I have not heard Anne Murray’s version, and that I much prefer Van Morrison’s bluesy rendition to the vocal stylings of Perry Como’s.

I also must confess that as I write this, I am fighting the urge to Google Perry Como—who I get confused with Mel Tormé—to see how long he’s been dead and if he wrote songs or just sang them, which leads me to confess that I have severe ADD coupled with a very strong propensity for procrastination, which makes it difficult to complete a variety of tasks in a timely fashion.

As long as I’m coming clean, I might as well admit that I am not the most fabulous caretaker of the planet. Here, each month, I get up on my soapbox and preach about how important it is for all of us to participate wholeheartedly in making responsible choices that will keep the earth healthy and vital, and I make suggestions for ways to accomplish this. And then I go live my life.

Oh, I’m steadfast at home: I use environmentally friendly cleaners, keep the thermostat at 68 degrees in cool weather, 78 in warm. I compost, compost, compost!! I recycle, recycle, recycle!! I’m hyperaware of water usage and have attempted to stay in the “flood zone,” adhering to the restrictions that were imposed upon us last spring, post-deluge.

I use a gas-powered clothes dryer. I tried solar-powered, but living five blocks from the interstate left my clothes smelling like diesel, and my friends kept asking when I became a long-haul trucker. I often forget to bring my reusable shopping bags when I am buying local foods, picking up my CSA, or purchasing previously loved clothing at the thrift store. However, I often opt out of the paper or plastic, and simply load up my arms to quizzical stares and cashiers asking if I’m sure I don’t want a bag.

When I travel, there’s a good chance that I am going to trash some recyclables along the way, although there is an equal chance that said recyclables will be rolling around in the backseat of my car weeks after my return. I drive too much, especially considering that there is a bus stop three blocks from my house. I use paper towels! I don’t abuse them, but fried foods and windows scream for them. I spend a little more for the pick-a-size variety and attempt to get by with the smallest section.

I’m dependent on pre-packaged apple sauce and string cheese for school day lunches—more expensive and less earth friendly, to be sure, but so very welcome in the morning when every second counts. I assuage my guilt by telling myself that the water I am saving from not washing reusables nightly more than makes up for this breach of earth care.

So, like many of you, while I try really hard to make conscientious choices for the planet, I fall short sometimes. But I am eternally optimistic. I believe that we are becoming more aware of the necessity of living sustainably, and of our responsibility to the generations that will be inheriting the earth. Nowadays, we have more options than ever to help us on our way. So, while I am certainly not the perfect poster child for sustainable living, I confess that I’m trying.

OK, I confess. I Googled “Perry Como.” In case you’re curious, he passed away in 2001 and he was strictly a crooner. He was married to his high school sweetheart for 65 years and was an impeccable dresser.

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