I’m not married to an SUV and don’t recognize the sound of a garbage disposal any longer. Still, there are some impure, clumsy little things that are hard to totally relinquish in my quest to qualify as a steward of the planet. You might recognize some of these attachments as ones you are struggling to let go of, as well.
1. Paper Files
Guilty! It’s tough to break the tactile filing habit when it comes to bills, work, pets, life. Sure, many have adapted to online banking but still feel the need to keep hard copies of tax-related documents, invoices, receipts (you can turn them down, now) and other proof we disorganized, overwhelmed consumers paid up, signed up, renewed and gave.
2. Non-recycled Tissues
Your ass is not grass and your nose knows. Sand paper won’t go there, happily. It’s too bad they cannot make a softer, gentler toilet paper or Kleenex, and until they do, I pick the less prickly of the varieties – paper products that don’t give me a rash and turn an already bumpy nose into a Rudolph shiner.
3. Leather Goods
While we have increasing evidence that it isn’t good to eat anything with a face, it is the year of the boots – thigh high, equestrian, chunky heeled, wedged. And leather jackets are cool, way more cool than fleece and hemp but perhaps not as functional and certainly more destructible. It seems easier to say no to fur than to the hide. Sorry. I like belts that are wide.
4. Camera Wizard
Are you a walking, breathing Kodak ad? I seem to go through my HP ink too fast for comfort – and it costs a bundle. But it is very tempting to print out images that connect us to memories, photographs and scanned artwork. Digital photography and Microsoft technology has made all of us little Annie Liebovitzes. Download off Facebook or your camera, crop, re-size, print and frame. Oh, and don’t forget the holiday cards you customize.
5. Gas in the Tank
Commuters are on bikes, everywhere, risking life and limb to save on gas and stay in shape, while others hop on public transit. Even so, we can’t stop filling the tank in our own machines for those times when it is simply too complicated to ride: Carpooling to school, late night parties, camping or other sporting trips, and places where we shouldn’t drive but are just too tired or lazy to opt for the alternative.
6. Buying Books
No pulp is just too cold for many of us. This, despite the fact Kindle ereaders are a mega hit with users who enjoy being able to download dozens of reads for that commute to work or time off on the beach. Authors and publishers make money, either way, but we cannot let go of that romantic attachment to the hard cover or paperback in its classic form.
Yes, the commercial airline industry has taken a hit but we continue to fly business and first class as write-offs when just about any meetings and conferences can be done via telecommuting in the year 2010. No one wants to see jets grounded for good, but there was a time when flying was a privilege, a luxury. But now, with the frequency of boarding a Greyhound bus, we round-trip it on Southwest, figuring the fuel cost outweighs a six hour drive, any day. Meanwhile, we await that cost-effective jet biofuel the Pentagon announced it is developing.
8. Non Organic Meat
Restaurants, markets and diners cite every excuse in the book for preferring Midwestern prime over free-range, grass fed beef. And surprisingly, America’s top-notch steak houses are still serving up factory cow to their discerning customers, saying it’s a matter of taste and access over health and humane conditions. Sorry, Temple Grandin and Michael Pollan – but humanely raised local organic is not what’s for dinner in a majority of kitchens.
9. Replacing Worn Running Shoes
The sports shoe industry is designed like the cell phone trade; the product becomes unattractive, unhealthy and useless to us over time, so we do the all-American thing and replace it. I moan each time my tread gets worn down while the canvas and leather and rubber or whatever else makes a running shoe seems to be in great shape. Until we can just replace the treads, we keep getting new ones.
10. Using Conventional Beauty Products
It’s the other green thumb, the one that has icky smelly trendy polish glossing it. It’s not like we don’t know the dangers of nail polish exposure and other beauty products we use religiously, but we do get lazy about picking stuff up when and where we can, such as buying mascara at the drugstore and undergoing a quick and dirty mani-pedi at the hood’s micro spa. I feel pretty but my health could be worse for the wear from all the chemicals. Guess we all could use a cleaner foundation!