Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Green Shame

We have talked at great length over here at GLR about the Earth, how we can all make our world a better place and ways to be a bit more eco-friendly, but in the process of sharing all those nuggets of awesomeness everyday I have insisted that by no means am I going to claim to be perfect; I live the life of tradeoffs just like the next planet lover. So today when I read back through some of the more recent posts of one of my favorite bloggers, I could not stop laughing at his Earth Day Can Blow Me post. (Please note there is very strong language in almost all of his writing) Just in case some of you do not have time to head over and read his witty banter I will summarize for you here.

Jim’s wife went into a coffee shop to purchase a cup of hot Joe one morning on the way to work. She requested a second, empty cup due to a sensitivity to heat. The server offered a cardboard sleeve. She asked for the other cup again and the clerk essentially said he did not want to give it to her because he wanted there to still be trees for his grandchildren. Jim’s wife was shocked (as I think all of us reading the story were) but acquired the cup anyway and went on her merry way.

Now as a self proclaimed tree hugger (in only the loosest sense of the word remember we have talked about the eco-tradeoffs of the lifestyles we all live, most especially me) my immediate reaction to his 1,000 word ranting was to ask what exactly the cardboard sleeve was made from that server offered instead? If it was not created right in the back room of the establishment, by hand and made from hemp or some such other environmentally friendly fabric then how would using that item be any better for our planet than the second cup (potentially created from post-consumer recycled content)?

I thoroughly enjoy sharing the tips and tricks, products or items I have discovered in my travels that could help us all be a little greener and in the future I really hope that the coffee server follows that lead by instead saying something to the effect of ‘you know for an extra dollar I can put your coffee in a reusable travel mug that might better protect your hands’.

As I have said before, in the end simply being aware of the choices available to us is going to bring the most change but each of us will need to make our own informed choice as to what works for us and what does not.

Have any of you experienced green shame while out and about? How did you react?


Hyla said...

I hate when I get to the store only to find left my bags at home. Usually I will make the cashier pack the plastic bags full and even just put some back in the cart claiming I have bags in the car. They look at me strange because I am pregnant. When I get home I just make my husband come down and get everything!

ginger said...

if i forget my bags at the store i will either suck it up and buy more bags or i will do a walk of shame out the door carrying all of my groceries in my arms...good thing i shop light. :)

and i got rid of my suv so i wouldn't have to feel guilty about that anymore.

as for the coffee cup, i do make an effort to always use a travel mug, but sometimes i don't have it with me and i always feel bad when i have to get a paper cup. i always make sure to recycle it. those sleeves use far less paper, are made from more post-consumer recycled material than the cups (at starbucks) and protect your hands just as well...still, that's no excuse for that barrista's attitude.

funny post. i'll have to go read suldog's.

Karen said...

I saw Suldog's post and it was hilarious!

Bridgete said...

I have 6 travel coffee mugs, so generally I feel really guilty when I forget to bring one of them and have to use a paper cup. I really can't use the excuse that they're all dirty when I have that many...

And to join the bag conversation, I actually don't feel guilty when I forget my reusable bags, but only because I know I'll reuse the plastic bags when I clean the cat box.