Friday, June 01, 2012

why can't people just be normal?



on facebook i've subscribed to a few blogs and pages that are focused on sustainable living and/or foraging. while this means that i learn a lot of new things and get a lot of new ideas, it also means that occasionally, i stumble across things that make me throw up a little bit in my mouth.

because what is up with the sustainable living people? i feel like there are two extremes - either those who homeschool for christ or snotty hipster urbanists. i feel a bit like those of us who are more or less normal end up squeezed out. not to mention that i find myself feeling hesitant to identify myself as someone who is attempting to live more sustainably by foraging and gardening and making my own stuff because i'm neither gaga for god, nor do i have a hipster bone in my body (unless you count the tiny tattoo on my left second toe).

i know that there are a lot of normal people out there who are trying to live more sustainably (and i share a blog or two with a number of them) - whether this means seeking alternative energy sources or consuming less or making pesto from backyard weeds or starting a CSA of your own or buying appliance repair parts and fixing it themselves instead of buying new appliances, or making gifts instead of buying them - but i would like to hear more from them.

i guess it's like politics - it seems like the lunatics are the most visible.

and because of that, we get lists of things people don't spend their money on that include newspapers - on the grounds that they don't have the time to use the coupons anyway. no mention of the news at all in the reason - as if newspapers are about coupons (which may explain the state of the newspaper industry in the US). and then there was the frightening commenter who mentioned that she didn't spend money on toilet paper because at her house they used the family cloth. (singular.)

the fact that people like this are homeschooling their children deeply frightens me.

(by the way, i am intentionally not linking to these blogs, as i don't want to be responsible for sending visitors their way, but if you email me, i'll be happy to tell you where to look.)

i think living more sustainably and consuming less is a process. and it's hard work. i go up and down and i still crave far too many things (shiny electronics and chanel nail polish come to mind). but i'm working on it. and i'd love to read about others who are working on it who aren't doing it for jesus or to be the next unabomber or to be a hipster snob. i think the planet needs all of us to be thinking more sustainably. but it's pretty off-putting if i have to share used toilet paper with my family...


12 comments:

stephanie said...

Wow. First...I cannot imagine sharing "family cloth." That just seems...gross.

I hear what you're saying. Portland is full of snobby urban hipsters and it drives me insane. The only thing that it does is make it MUCH easier to find the random supplies and information I need to live a bit more sustainably. But it's hard. Because part of me doesn't want to be lumped in with those people. I just want to do what I can so that I can enjoy my life. Things like canning and having chickens (and a goat, if I get really lucky/brave) are things that bring a bit of joy to my life as well as do a little good.

It seems like people do a lot of things simply to "be seen," so to speak. So they take shit to the extreme, like you said, rather than just doing what they actually want to do. Because right now trying to live sustainably is trendy. There are people that are doing it because they want to and people that are doing it because they can't NOT do something trendy. I find it frustrating, because if you get chickens or try canning or cheese making you're being trendy, not just doing something fun and interesting.

GAH! I could go on and on. Thanks for this post. Hey, can my husband and I come and be normal with you guys? :)

Ally said...

I grew up with a mother whose motto was: waste not, want not. As a result I save things to reuse, don't follow the fashion trends, know how to make a meal from just about anything, can entertain myself without electronic devices-- and much more.

You're right. Conservation is an attitude + an aptitude for saving. It is a process which need not be weird or religious or unhealthy. All that stuff is just someone's ego talking.

Jess said...

Haha this post cracks me up, it is so on point. You are right about the lunatics being the most visible but the world is a big place and I'm sure (at least, really hoping!) there are lots of normal people out there like your self with similar interests. Good luck in the quest to find them :)

Bill said...

Please define normal.

Sarah said...

Ha, I am right there with you. I not only use toilet paper (now there is something I never thought I'd have to specifically declare), I even use the occasional paper towel. Because, you know, three cats. Laundering cat-puke-soaked rags is officially where I draw the line.

julochka said...

stephanie - indeed portland is probably guiltiest of being full of snobby hipsters. followed, oddly enough, by springfield, mo.

ally - i hadn't thought about the ego aspect, but you may be right.

jess - i hope there are lots of normal people out there (b/c if there's not, we're all in trouble).

bill - normal = not sharing your toilet paper with someone else.

sarah - i do try not to use paper towels and paper napkins, but i do have a giant roll of paper towels in the house at the moment. some things just need a paper towel.

Veronica Roth said...

And Chanel lipstick! Don't forget the lipstick. But I have the same pledge to sustainable living you do. In Vancouver we’re pretty good.

DahnStarr said...

Then there is the flip side...by buying and using paper products (tp, towels and newspapers) the customer is helping to keep people employeed. And the extra bonus of not having to have a 'family cloth' in the bathroom/outhouse. (Come on people, a 'family cloth' is pushing it too far!)

Delena said...

I wonder if we are normal.. I use the clothesline at home to save on electricity. When we drive into Yuma for our winter stay we drive to the internet store to pick up our modem before we even get to our trailer. Our satelite TV is hooked up in mere minutes and all winter I use the dryer in the park because I don't want to share the line. I loved this blog post and the older I get the more I realize that I am indeed normal....

Andi said...

Oh jeez, I could not agree with you more. The fanatics ruin it for everyone! I am very interested in sustainability. I live in a house with solar panels, which was built sustainably, and we don't use chemicals for cleaning etc. My hubby and I share one car which is hybrid, etc. etc and when I try to find like-minded people I run into the same crazies. Home-schooling is a whole other scary issue altogether. I would be nice to final "normal" green peeps!

vicki archer said...

Moderation is always the best way... in everything. Living a sustainable life and acting responsibly towards our environment is no different... Great post... xv

Jennifer James said...

I keep the fact I'm into sustainable living a total secret. I even have corn growing in my flower beds. Just ask Andi. She's been reading my blog for years and I don't think I've ever written the word "sustainable." Awesome post. And, I'm here via Andi's link.