In the earth-friendly circles in which I travel, I meet a lot of extremely dedicated eco-activists. They are all outrageously well meaning, if a bit overly caffeinated. The fact is I tend to keep my distance from the true zealots – those endlessly earnest composting vegans, the ones who wear hemp, sew their own cloth diapers, and vibrate with positive energy. Instead, I seem to gravitate towards women who are more like me: well-intentioned but slightly slothful and just the tiniest bit cranky. Basically, I am committed to the Earth but reluctant to break a sweat. I would describe myself as “chill” except that my kids have forbidden me to use that word (unless it’s in the context of chocolate pudding). For low-key gals like me who want to make a greener, cleaner Earth – while still finding time to relax – I offer the following tips:
- Resist the urge to procreate. This will protect the Earth from the harmful effects of 4,000 disposable diapers while saving 100 gallons of water each and every day. Also, it will save you 18 to 22 years of hard labor. As a side benefit, you will be able to wear clogs and use inappropriate, youthful slang without anyone criticizing you for it.
- Stop eating mayonnaise. There is absolutely no way to get those jars clean enough for recycling, so just switch to mustard and call it a day. In the long run, the Earth will thank you – and your arteries will, too.
- Buy a Toyota Prius. This will earn you such massive eco cred that you won’t really have to do anything else except stand around looking smug and virtuous.
- Get a dog. Dogs are an excellent way to dispose of leftovers, and most of them will also eat junk mail, couch pillows, eyeglasses and other household items that would otherwise end up in landfills. Cats will perform many of the same functions, but on the downside”¦they’re cats.
- Go to a car wash. This is counter intuitive and flies in the face of all that homespun, simple life, do-it-yourself rhetoric, but the fact is a professional car wash is much more water efficient than using a garden hose in your driveway. Plus, your dog – and husband – will find the car wash endlessly amusing.
- Start buying Diet Coke in cardboard boxes containing 24 cans. This way, you won’t have to cut up those annoying, plastic six-pack rings. Also, you’re less likely to run out of Diet Coke.
- Announce that you will no longer cook any endangered species of fish. Also refuse to buy chicken or milk containing antibiotics or PCBs or eggs that aren’t cruelty free. This will knock so many foods off your menu that you’ll be able to serve microwave popcorn for dinner without feeling guilty.
- Designate one day a week as “Stay in Bed Sunday.” On this day you will use very little electricity, you won’t contribute to the out-of-control consumer culture, you will produce almost no waste, and your skin will look refreshed and wonderful.
- Work at home if you possibly can. Telecommuting saves the planet from harmful automotive carbon emissions. Plus, it is sometimes possible to nap during the workday.
- OK, I know that’s only nine, but frankly, I’m exhausted. And I really believe that nine tips are more than enough. Yessiree, nine tips are plenty.