My name is Kim and I do not live green.
An earthy brown perhaps, maybe with a hint of moss. But a true emerald? Not even on my best day.
There. I’ve said it. I’ve come clean. To be honest, it’s kind of a relief. But before the ecologically virtuous among you try to run me out of Park Slope on a rail, know this: I want to change.
You see, in other areas of my life I am not selfish or boorish. I actually aspire to choose right over wrong. I have committed myself passionately to a range of causes, political and personal. I care about the condition of my neighborhood and the future of our planet. And I believe that it is the obligation of each one of us to do our part to ensure our children inherit a thriving world.
My actual contributions to sustainability? Paltry.
Yes, I rely almost exclusively on public transportation and I do my best to recycle. But both are essentially mandatory in New York City so I’m not sure they count.
I buy a haphazard—and likely illogical—assortment of organic groceries too. But if I’m being completely honest that’s because I think those groceries are better for my kids, not better for the planet. I did once go on a tear and purchase a bushel of energy efficient light bulbs. That was expressly for the good of the planet. But my mission had to be aborted when it became clear that the bulbs I purchased were the only-for-interrogation variety.
However a recent weekend in the Catskills has convinced me I must once and for all change my wasteful ways. There were only the four of us—my husband, me and our two daughters, 4 and 7—staying at a friend’s house for the weekend. It was a lovely house nestled right on a gorgeous lake. It was perfect even with the teeny-tiny inconvenience of not having garbage pick-up.
No garbage pick-up means simply that you must carry your refuse out with you at the end of your stay and dispose of it when you get home. No big deal.
Until, of course, you are forced to confront how much garbage your gluttonous, slovenly family can actually produce in less than three days. I felt ashamed the whole ride back to Brooklyn with our enormous pile of refuse jammed in the back of our cash-for-clunkers SUV.
It was just way too much garbage. Too much waste for four people—two of them not even full-sized—to create on a regular basis. Too deep an imprint for us to be leaving. And as much as I’d like to think that weekend represented some aberration in our refuse production, I know that it did not.
I just don’t notice in Brooklyn, where I’m throwing out our garbage constantly. Jamming it into the bins behind our building where it accumulates, out of sight and out of mind.
But I am in denial no longer. I want to live differently. I want to give my children a better example. So I’m going to start small and dream big. I’ll report on my progress here and fellow newbies can follow along and learn lots of local tips and tricks for going green.
And for the evergreen among you, I promise to scour Park Slope for especially unique insights or novel takes on sustainability. Topics will run the gamut from getting recycling right to Park Slope neighbors raising chickens in their back yards.
And I’ve got a good feeling this time. After all, the first step is admitting you have a problem. An audience never hurt, either.