Thursday, September 23, 2010

self portrait thursday: green sex

SPT eco goddess
eco-diva: thrifted clothing and boots, air drying the laundry, in front of an environmentally-friendlyly cleaned bathroom plus upcycled art on the walls and a reduced (though not recycled or re-used) butt! dammit, i'm good!

To me, saving the earth is nothing new. Along with CND, it's been with me since birth. Reducing, re-using and recycling have always been part of my life thanks in part to a very thrifty and ingenious mother. Her growing up during the war years ingrained a "make do and mend" mentality, where useful items were stashed away for the future. Both my parents were involved in growing produce in the garden; my father's responsibility was the awesome array of composting which contributed to the carbon and nitrogen cycles in the homestead. My sister and I kept guinea pigs, whose droppings were great additives to the composts. They and other family pets were also added back into the garden nutrient cycles at the appropriate times in their lives. Nothing was wasted. We were green and it was only the seventies.

looking up towards compost corner as it eventually became

Today's green message is nothing new but now I'm noticing how slanted and biased it has become. Somehow it has become women's work. Eco hints are directed toward the lady of the house. We're cajoled into greenwashing our washing, spurred into eco-cleaners, or directed to 'make our own'. Our consciences are pricked with advice on BPA-free this child's item and phthalate-free that. Are we packing our school lunches in approved packaging? ie. non-plastic, non-disposable, non-packaging packaging? Are our choices sustainable to the nth degree? Are we sorting our recycling? Are we buying only recyclable packaging? Are we not buying packaging at all? Is our make up eco-aware? Have we checked every single chemical in the house for green-ness and toxicity? If not, why not?

flotsam brooch - dill pickle wannabe in profile
all things green, even jewelry (made from scraps and workshop demo pieces)

I'm noticing that virtually none of this green messaging is male-oriented. Most of these eco-manouvers require feminine input e.g. extra washing, increased household maintenance, thinking time at the supermarket. For example, Port Moody will be changing its garbage and kerb-side pick up in the new year. Only kitchen waste will be picked up weekly, with garbage and recycling carts being collected twice a month. Kitchen waste carts are now being rolled out to town homes as well as single family residencies in the city. I understand the message - anything recyclable should not be going into the garbage cart as it can either be recycled or composted. To do our bit we are being gently persuaded to re-think our trash output and purchasing choices. I agree.

your dinner is in the oven - crafting 365/ d49
the dreadful consequences of taking the 'no packaging' message to extremes during baking

But my main problem with this is that it loads even more work onto the woman of the household's plate. Grocery shopping is mostly women's work, and household organisation most definitely is. Who is it who will make the changes necessary to cope with the new compartmentalisation of household outgoings? Yes, in this case it will be me, in common with countless other women across the city. We will be arranging recycling strategies (new waste baskets, training the inhabitants on what to put and where, and then correcting the mistakes on a weekly basis), making buying choices and dealing with the bulk consequences (new containers, new pots, finding the lids) and finding where to put three huge disposal bins safely out of the way of bears, vermin, the husband's bike collection, the car and the kid toys.

Don't get me started on the kitchen waste! We would happily compost but our back yard is tiny, we don't grow anything, and I worry it might attract bears. So instead we will be stuck with a big and eventually smelly kitchen waste cart which we cannot line with anything impervious. I dread summer. Yes, I could wash it out but I'm only a foot or so taller than the item and I refuse to get inside to scrub. Anyway, are we also meant to be saving water and not putting detergent down the drains? I'm confused.

school fruit and veggie program offerings
future denizens of the kitchen cart (courtesy of the school fruit and veggie program)

I know no one else in the house is thinking it through. Our garage is attached to the house and I can imagine the stench, ants and flies which might invade during the summer heat. My plan of attack (forewarned is forearmed) will be to freeze waste and use Kraft bin liners to minimise unpleasantness. OK, so add 'sourcing Kraft liners' to the to do list :(

Yes, we do need to (continue to) save our planet. Yes, we do need to rethink our consumerism and waste disposal. Yes, we do need to monitor what damage we're doing to the environment. But apart from a few notable exceptions, could the men be encouraged to do some of the work too?

Apart from cars, what green decisions do men make for their eco-aware families?

this self portrait thursday message has been brought to you by the letters r, R and r. thank you :)

ebb and flo by pomo mama design click to shop pomo mama design online!