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Less “Pragmatic” than “Lazy”

Another guest post by Sharon Tomasulo, from Library Hungry. Enjoy!

I do consider myself an environmentalist, but I eat too much meat, drive too big a car, and am far too lazy to call myself a good one. I want to be a good steward of the earth, but more in the way I want to go to the gym than the way that I want an ice cream cone—an individually wrapped in non-recyclable packaging, preservative- and chemical-laden Nutty Buddy. Oh yeah.

Adam helps with the recycling.

So in the little moments I snatch in my busy schedule of working, raising a kid, and not going to the gym, what’s the minimum I can do to be part of the solution? What are my tricks for making things a tiny bit easier—just enough to tip them over into “doable”?

  1. Enlist an expert. Seriously, there’s a ton of information out there, and how in the world is a person supposed to decide whether it’s more Earth-friendly to drive five extra miles to buy organic from Whole Foods or go the nearby Johnnie’s Foodmaster, save the gas, and just wash off the pesticides? Luckily, I have a good friend whose blog you are coincidentally reading right now. I am a mediocre researcher, and Brenda often knows the answers to my questions off the top of her head, or knows where to look for the best info. If you don’t have a friend like this, you can borrow mine. I’ve been trying to talk her into adding an “Ask the Pragmatic Environmentalist” feature for a little while now. If you think this is a good idea, send her questions.
  2. Raid your neighbor’s garden. If you have friends and neighbors who garden, chances are they’re offering you tomatoes and zucchini in the summertime. And you know what? They mean it. They’re not just being polite—or rather, they are just being polite, inasmuch as they are not begging and pleading with you to get all this zucchini out of their house, for the love of God.
  3. Get a cherry tomato plant. I say this as an incredibly lazy person who rarely remembered to water hers—that one plant must have given me almost half a bushel of tomatoes last summer, at a rate of 5-15 per day. As someone who hates getting dirty and considers gardening to be significantly less fun than getting blood drawn, I can truly say I love my cherry tomatoes.
  4. Keep a recycling bin in the bathroom. I’m enough of a slacker that by “bin” I mean “paper bag,” but if you care about aesthetics, you could get a more attractive vessel. Do you know how many toilet paper rolls were getting thrown away because I couldn’t bother to bring them downstairs in the middle of the night? How many pill bottles and the boxes they come in, slips of paper that I emptied out of my pockets at the end of the day, cardboard that the new sheets came wrapped in? Most of our recycling lives in the kitchen, but since our only bathroom is upstairs, it never made it in. Now at least 1/3 of our paper recycling comes from upstairs.
  5. Eat the foods you love (that are vegetarian). When I think, “Oh, I should eat more vegetarian meals,” and then try to decide what to make, it goes poorly. I’m too old fashioned—I was raised on meat and potatoes. Veggies were a side dish. But when I find a vegetarian dish that I love, I add it to the rotation, and that can add up. Mushroom and leek gougère, falafel and hummus, cheese lasagna… Non-meat meals are generally cheaper, healthier (even with my, shall we say, liberal use of cheese), and much better for the world.

I have other laziness-related tips, like how you use less harsh chemicals when you just don’t clean your house at all and save water by not showering for a few days in a row. Don’t get me wrong—there are things I do that involve going out of my way—but mostly I’m looking for the path of least resistance in bringing my concerns about the environment into practice in my life, and you’d be surprised how possible that is.

Comments

Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time May 26, 2011 at 8:04 pm

[…] Self-Watering Planter // Sharon’s claim that a cherry tomato plant was a really easy way to grow fresh veggies sounded so good, I added […]

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