Still a Creature of Comfort: A City Mouse at Heart

I never said I was the “ultimate green queen.” And I think I reenforced my own learning curve after spending a few days living in the home of a friend who forgoes the modern conveniences of air conditioning, dishwashers, and microwaves at her rustic cottage home.

I may compost and plant an urban garden, but I am still a creature of comforts. I can’t help it. I wish I could rely on open windows and ceiling fans when the temperature raises above 85 degrees, but I do believe I’d truly melt without my central air conditioning.

I know microwaves emit radiation, and you won’t see me heating up plastic bottles. But I can not bring myself to boil milk for oatmeal in a kettle. My design aesthetic has always been Victorian, cottage style. But living in the real thing shows me that it’s just the style I admire versus the actual aging floorboards and creaky windows. I’m a total sell out – charmed by older aesthetics, but desperate for the modern ease of use. No separate faucets for hot and cold water for me.

I am as much a spoiled child of convenience as most Americans of my generation. So I guess I can see why people may be sticking strong to some of their wasteful ways. But, again, my message and practice has always been about “doing what is doable,” and making green living practical, manageable, and affordable. Given, a stripped down way of life is probably the most affordable change one can make.

But for those of us who cling to our Keurig coffee makers for dear life (myself included), I don’t expect you to grind fair trade coffee beans with mortar and pestle. Just maybe stick to the fair trade Green Mountain K-Cups. If you relish your central air conditioning, don’t try to brave the heat like some kind of honor badge. Just maybe set the degree up a notch.

I believe there are few excuses for not making the simple changes (like utilizing curbside recycling and  bringing your own bag) and applaud everyone who can take greener living to the highest level that is possible for them. I think it’s so awesome that a family of five can bake organic cookies in the sweltering heat of August with nothing but a cracked window (true story). But if we all try to emulate the Ed Begleys of the world, aiming to make our morning toast fueled by the power of our bicycle, it has the potential to make us counterproductive.

We have to try to balance the line between sacrifice and comfort. We must push ourselves to take out an extra bin on trash day, we should patronize our farmer’s markets, and we have little excuse for not shutting off the lights when we leave a room. But we can’t all be martyrs for the planet, living without the handful of conveniences we love – like our laptops and microwaves.

For now I will have to settle for “doing what’s doable” for me.

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