Sunday, October 23, 2005

Principles of Green Parenting – Impurity is OK

Well, the week started off relatively green. I switched to using those weird little crystals for deodorant . MaGreen transferred her squash seedling from a little pot to our new square-foot, organic garden outside. We picked up MaGreen’s bicycle from the shop with new pregnancy-friendly modifications. I put screens up, opened our windows, and turned off the airconditioning. So far so good, right? Doing the green thing, reducing our energy footprint and having fun at the same time.

Then Tuesday, we discovered that an animal dug up our garden. I think it was a squirrel, a deceptively cute one that I’ve watched grow from a baby in our backyard. Betrayal! I wanted to hurt the squirrel, which would not be very green I suppose. Then it got hot again and MaGreen was feeling ill. We also got in a big argument. So I closed all the windows and revved up the central air-conditioning. Wednesday, after we had made-up, we rented the second season of Six Feet Under and basically watched four straight hours of television on the dvd player in MaGreen’s computer. For about two days, I felt like taking back all of our idealistic proclamations about green parenting.

I don’t feel bad about these “lapses”. We aren’t trying to reach some kind of pure state of greenness. Although we have hidden the television and stopped watching it, renting some dvds and vegging out – that’s part of life, at least in Houston. We pay a little extra money to get our electricity from a windmill company called Green Mountain Energy, but we’re not going to keep the air-conditioning off and suffocate on a hot Houston day by our own volition. Purity is not the objective. I think pure anything ultimately hurts people. If you read Gandhi’s autobiography, you get the sense that his wife suffered for many of his experiments with truth. Righteousness is a clumsy weapon.

Recently at a party, MaGreen and I were telling some friends and acquaintances about our green parenting plans. Some people were intrigued, others were aghast. It was when MaGreen told them we will try the diaper-free method that people kind of freaked. One woman who has two grown kids basically said we didn’t know what we were getting in to and implied that we would hurt the baby. I think she doesn’t understand us. She thinks we will be dogmatic, as many people are about parenting choices. That said, we are basically setting ourselves up. I’m not sure what it will be like when MaGreen delivers and we have a real baby to deal at 2 am. But we figure the greener our plans, the easier it will be to laugh at ourselves down the road.

No comments: