With Apologies to Al Gore: Green is Gross

As any 5-year-old who hates to eat her veggies can attest, Green is Gross.

In this case, I mean living Green is Gross. It is truly an inconvenient truth, but I have to come right out and say what I know everyone else is thinking: making choices that are good for the environment can be quite gross.

We have been dipping our toes in the Green pool for years – living in San Francisco leaves us little choice – but last summer, the purchase of a hybrid car sparked a Green flame under our heinies and our family made a full-on plunge into the carbon-offsetting lifestyle.

Suddenly every teensy little choice had to be evaluated under the harsh green glare of the eco-microscope. Time to refuse all bag options at the store and always take our own. Time to quit futzing around with the garbage disposal and actually commit to composting. Time to buy less, use less, wash less, consume less, drive less, pollute less, waste less, throw away less, and get grossed out more.

My husband, whom I affectionately call Mr. Green Jeans, first noticed this gross trend in our Green living choices, and we quickly started making a list of all the ways Green is Gross.

Green is Gross because…

Crusty goo on the yogurt lids and soda cans begins to grow legs and bark at the door if we forget to rinse containers before tossing them in the recycling bin.

The diaper pail for the cloth diapers reeks to high heaven, even if we dump the turds into the toilet and throw a clod of baking soda in the bin.

Speaking of fragrance, our compost bin recently took on the odor of rotting corpse, much to the delight of a couple of 5-year-olds who trounced around the yard yelling, “Smell it! Smell it! It’s SOOO stinky!” This is particularly troublesome because in San Francisco the garbage people actually pick up the compost at the curb, taking it away from the house. It is the empty bin that continues to emit the stinking ghost of odors past.

Eco-friendly hygiene products and water conservation also leave us living humans more ripe and hairy than usual.

It makes me think about the fact that our society has been desperately trying to escape the animal-side of our humanity for the past 100+ years as we’ve scraped, lathered, slathered, shaved, plucked, tweezed, oiled, spritzed, and polished ourselves into sterilized, anti-bacterial polluters.

Living Green reminds me that we are part of this lovely, fecund planet. We are inextricably bound to the fate of this sweet Earth as organic, carbon-based, stinky, sweaty, passionate, loving creatures. And thus I maintain that Green is inherently Gross.

I could go into a big counter-list of all of the millions of ways that Green is Good. But I’m not going to get into it here because there are a million other websites outlining all of the great reasons why and how to live Green. Once the Today Show starts going Green, you know that the environmental movement has hit the big time.

Even though Green is Gross we keep on doing it. We want those ideas instilled in our daughters, so that someday when they yell at us for wrecking their planet we can at least shrug and say we tried our best fight the tide.

And maybe, someday, when Grace is the CEO of Wal-Mart (which has transformed into a paragon of a profitable ecologically-sound business model,) and when Rosemary has been handed a Nobel prize for not just making a documentary about global warming but for leading the planet’s biggest brains in solving the fiasco (a mom can dream, can’t she?) they’ll thank us for teaching them to be Green and Gross.

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3 thoughts on “With Apologies to Al Gore: Green is Gross

  1. My Tom’s of Maine deodorant might be green (is it???) but by the end of the day I always smell curry. And it turns out that the smell of curry is coming from me and Tom. It’s an organic smell, but not all that sexy!!!!

  2. Pingback: What kind of nerd loves compost? « Hot Composting Blog

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