Thursday, June 12, 2008

pure and simple

I am running out of steam on this look-at-how-crunchy-I-am posting series. That's fine! Cause it's my blog and I can do what I want to.
Part of what is exhausting me is that...it's not enough, is it? I've been craving beef this week (thanks, Carne Asada Burrito from Baja Fresh!) and the beans are just not cutting it. I put some laundry into the dryer this morning. Got into the car to drive to see some friends.
I'm not feeling that bad about it, but still. I read parts of this book called "Cradle to Cradle," that talks about how if we just designed products better, we could reuse them over and over (their biggest example was the book itself, which is made out of recycled/recyclable plastic polymers, is nearly indestructable, waterproof, and uses non-toxic inks. Pretty cool). Except: I don't see all of the products we use getting redsigned any time soon. Not even close. And no matter whether I recycle the aluminum that goes around the burrito or not, there are tons of it being wasted, as I speak.
I liked Michael Pollan's call to not give up, even if our "doppleganger" in China is happily stepping up to consume the things we're foregoing. We don't stop doing the right thing, even if it seems like a lost cause. That's part of what the cause of Christ is all about, right?
I also liked this posting on Image Journal's site: reminding me that this world is not pure, and is not going to become pure through human effort. No amount of recycling, laundry hanging,
bus-hopping, organic shopping, bean growing, or tofu frying is going to change that. I can't do it.
Repeat: I can't do it. I don't have to try.
I have to repeat that a lot these days.
My problem is this is not the only area I try to perfect in my life. It's kind of a lifelong struggle. I am trying to write an essay about my struggle to stop perfect my reading of the Bible. Still haven't figured that one out, but am a lot closer to just enjoying time with God instead of setting up a program to adhere to. I think greening one's life is kind of like that. If you don't slow down and try to appreciate the time you take to do things like cook, hang up linens, garden, and mindfully shop, then you jsut end up feeling guilty, pressured, failing, incomplete. And by "you", I mean me.
The mindfulness is the hard part, isn't it? That's the real countercultural revolution here. Waking up. Thinking about where things come from and where they end up. Why you reach for your wallet when other solutions might exist. Why security always comes in the shape of a dollar bill. Why I don't have time to do things slowly.
So here's to taking it slowly. And to being okay with slowness.











Breathing.

1 comment:

Todd Stadler said...

You know, I'm not sure I'd thought about it until now, but I think my motivations for being "green" or otherwise Michael-Pollan-approved are largely selfish, as opposed to devoted to saving the world.

I mean, I eat locally and organically (when I do) because it's better quality and better for me, not just out of a desire to make things better. And we keep the house cold in winter because it saves us money. That it saves energy is nice, but maybe not our main motivation.

Not that everything we do is self-centered. I guess I don't get a lot out of recycling, other than the usual sense of greener-than-many pride. And I'm not recommending that you abandon guilt motivation for selfishness. Not at all.

But it does make it easier for me when I want to indulge a bit: drive the car to church this week, have an inorganic hunk of meat with wine shipped in from Europe, toss that plastic bag rather than washing it. Because I can tell myself I don't have to be perfect all the time -- after all, I'm better than most people, right? And indulging from time to time only plays into the whole selfish motivation anyhow.

What's interesting to me is that your and my approaches both have their parallels in people's approaches to sin. Some feel a debt of sin they must constantly work to overcome to be right with God. Others imagine God must think they're pretty great people and do enough good to convince their neighbors of God's apparent opinion. I wonder if our attitudes towards greenness reflect our spiritual attitudes.

I hope this wasn't too brash of a comment to make. I was just trying to be honest with myself -- I obviously don't really know your situation that well.