Forgive Us Our Eco-Sins

Plastic bags and Styrofoam stir up feelings of guilt and shame.

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Forgive me, blogosphere, for I have sinned. I took a really long shower the other day, and I didn't bring a canvas bag to the grocery store, so I had to use (gasp!) plastic bags. I used a Styrofoam cup while my reusable water bottle was in the office dishwasher. For penance, I'll be sure to eat vegetarian more frequently this week. Amen.

One of the surest signs of a massive cultural switch is some good old-fashioned guilt-tripping. Take smoking, for example. Smokers once were sexy and cool; now, they're relegated to huddling 50 feet away from the building in the rain to feed a smelly addiction that most Americans shun. Now, with an avalanche of books about going green and even a TV network devoted to the cause, being a mindlessly eco-destructive consumer is our next scarlet letter.

That's why, on the first day of yet another green blog with a snappy name, I felt that I had to make my aforementioned confessions. As the green movement gains disciples faster than a Whole Foods stock boy can shelve boxes of granola, you should know: I'm not here to preach. Rather, I'm still figuring out how to be a green consumer—and have money left over to pay my bills at the end of the month—just like many of you. And that's why I trip up every once in a while, necessitating the use of plastic bags or Styrofoam or paper plates, just because it's easy. Sure, I feel a little twinge of guilt each time. But I also try to make up for it by not owning a car (I bike or walk to work), buying organic and/or local when possible, recycling, and turning off the lights whenever I leave a room.

It's hard to put the "green" in your greenbacks, especially when you've got other bills to pay, but I'll guilt-trip over a teeny—and sometimes necessary—Ziploc bag nonetheless. Am I the only one? What are some of your eco-sins?


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