A couple of times recently I've come into contact with this phenomena of "eco-fatigue." It seems inevitable that people get so worked up into a frenzy about living "green" that they start to get a little frazzled by it all. As I have been reading in The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices, it's important to look at the big picture. One thing the authors want readers to keep in mind is weight. The weight of what you consume is more environmentally damaging than what is consumed. That's why, they contend, it is important to make the sound eco-choices when buying that new fridge or stove.
One example of this was listening to Talk of The Nation one day on my way home from campus. They had on Michael Valkys, a reporter for The Poughkeepsie Journal who was discussing a city ordinance that prohibits homeowners from placing clotheslines or drying clothing in the front of the house, critics claiming it takes away from the aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood. So, essentially, if you put clothes on a drying rack on your porch or in your driveway you are a law-breaker.
My feeling is that if you want aesthetic appeal when you're outside, go to a national park. As the discussion went on they turned to the phones to get people's input about this, and it was a litany of complaints about not only this topic, but people complaining about other things about being environmental that get on their nerves. Maybe this was a good outlet for the frustrations people feel in dealing with these green decisions every day, but I felt like it was a little bit of a bash-fest to environmental living.
The No Impact Man Toast Debacle
DG keeps me up to date on No Impact Man, being a frequent watcher of his daily travails to leave less of a footprint. Awhile back she told me about a No Impact Man post about toast that, in retrospect, completely typifies this eco-fatigue. After making all this effort to make no-impact toast for his little daughter, Mrs. No Impact Man swoops in and gobbles down said toast and, understandably, he was grumpy. His fatigue, of course, may be more acute having to run a toaster off a solar-charged battery or camp toaster, or whatever, but when you are No Impact Man, things like making toast take on a lot more import. Daily chores that take 5-seconds for the rest of us world-destroyers are Herculean endeavors for him that require actual intention and then planning, and finally manifestation. Whew. I'm getting tired just thinking about making toast from a solar-powered toaster.
Took the beautiful toast pic from No Impact Man.