To err is human, to forgive divine. To live green, sublime.
This time of year is traditionally reflective for me. In thinking about my life going green, I've realized that the true-to-life and imperfect trials — and reactions to them — are not only informative and entertaining, but are rich with subplots of trade-offs and human practicalities.
There are moments when I stress over what untold eco-infringements go on secretly inside my cabinets and cupboards.
Since my consumption of most everything, save coffee, tap water, mascara and castile soap, seems to be low, there are things I am still using up (like that 4-year-old bottle of hair gel and a few conventional light bulbs) before I purchase better, greener versions. And, of course, not everything is as organic, fair-trade and carbon-conscious as the ideal Ms. Green Quick Fixes would hope that it could be.
Plus, I would love to but don't own a hybrid vehicle. And at this point, a used one is still out of the realm of the financially possible. So I share a car and depend more and more on a bike and make choices that reduce my travels.
We all have stories like this.
For some, the trade-off might be purchasing renewable energy credits but accommodating central air systems for large homes, or running several computers for business reasons. It might be swearing off clothes dryers, but powering a 10,000-square-foot home complete with entertainment, gaming and climate control systems.
For government, it's opening the door to renewable energy projects, but limiting locations because of competing priorities like preserving fish habitats, protecting endangered species and supporting recreational fishing opportunities.
When I agreed to take this column on, I made the commitment to grapple with greening everything in my life, publish it and then implement green changes in full force.
I've tried unusual methods, despite the extreme eyebrow raise of those closest to me. I regularly square off against human-induced, Earth-damaging modern conventions with this column as my weapon. What I have found is that there are numerous environmental nuances to weigh in making many decisions, some very basic, and thus I have made choices that are often limited by time, group consensus, and the very practical human constraints of budget, finances and earnings.
In doing so, I worry that, for Earth, there may not be enough time to forgive mine and all the other humans' errors.
Above all, however, I have found that becoming Ms. Green Quick Fixes has given my life tempo. There is so much more to cover and so many more green trials to machete through. There are more Green Quick Fixes to be made on the residential, community and governmental levels. To live green is sublime.
Grave GM error overturned
For those of you concerned about genetically modified foods, it will be good news to hear that a federal judge of the U.S. District Court for the northern district of California has ruled against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) approval of Monsanto's "Round-Up Ready" GM sugar beet, discussed in "Genetically modified sugar beet leaves bad taste," from the July 24 edition of Green Quick Fixes.
The judge ruled that the USDA did not give adequate consideration to the risk that "Round-Up Ready" sugar beet would contaminate other beet crops and sided with strong arguments that sugar beet, which is a wind-pollinated crop, could and is spreading to fields planted with conventional and organic varieties.
The USDA must now prepare an environmental impact statement, a sizable task that includes a public comment period, before the "Round-up Ready Sugar Beet" can be approved. While thousands of items containing sugar that is made from GM sugar beet continue to lace supermarket shelves, there is hope that we can lasso "Round-Up" before the entire U.S. sugar beet crop is forced and bio-manipulated to GM. The parties will also meet in October to discuss further remedies.
Andrea Fox, a Beverly resident, has been writing about environmental sustainability and eco-topics for nine years. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and a watershed protection advocate in Salem Sound Watershed. Visit her Web site at msgreenquickfixes.com.