June 24, 2007

back from vacation

I'm back from a wonderful trip to visit family. As always, traveling brings new perspective to my efforts to go green. I definitely appreciate how living in such an environmentally progressive area really helps. For instance, I am always blown away to see how limited recycling programs are in some areas. It is so easy for me tout the importance of recycling and composting when our city picks up both curbside.

Not to mention produce selection. The groceries near our vacation home didn't have a huge selection of organics. It took us a few days to find some good markets. I did find it pretty surprising when we stopped by a local farm stand and found most of their products were shipped in from California (we were on the east coast). I guess it isn't easy to buy local if the local growing season hasn't had a bumper crop yet!

We rented a interesting car, though. It wasn't a hybrid, but it did seat 7 and got much better mileage than my crossover-SUV. The Ford Freestyle is like a station wagon but with a 3rd row of seats which can fold flat into the floor, making loads of storage space. I know there are many models of crossover SUVs which seat 7 people, and I love that feature, but have an issue with the poor milage most of them get.

The bug spray without deet, which I had found before we left, worked well (Cutter Advanced with Picardin) and the new sunscreens I brought were great also. I was excited that when I stopped at a Whole Foods en route to the vacation house I found an Aubrey sunscreen I had wanted to try. I was so glad I wouldn't need to order it online! By the way, I will have a sunscreen update shortly with some great new info.

One of the nicest parts of the trip though was having a chance to visit with friends and family and talk about our efforts, frustration and confusion about going green. None of us expects to be perfect, but it sure would help if information about choices was more straightforward. It seems that one minute you believe claim A only to learn the next day that claim B is true. Packaging and companies seem so duplicitous.

And doesn't it all seem like such a bourgeois problem? I mean, people around the world are struggling to feed and provide shelter for their families every day and I'm wondering if buying an organic apple from Chile is a bad thing.

But then again, maybe it is up to the people who can buy organic and do environmentally healthy things to do it, and tell people about it. Maybe the demand for "green" products will send a message to businesses. Sure, businesses can see that the "green" market is a great financial opportunity. I for one see more possibility in making change by sending a message though my purchasing trends than by waiting for government to intervene with higher standards and protocols for a healthy planet.

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