, Salem, MA


October 2, 2009

The trade-offs that come with going green

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.

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