Smug Pollution

Dayna’s thought on my previous rant:

You know that’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine. Especially when being able to “go green” is a luxury of the middle and upper classes. So many of these Smug Greenies never stop to think that gee, the people who (gasp) shop at Wal-Mart because THAT IS ALL THEY CAN AFFORD. And I’d love to know WTF these folks who completely stick their noses up at consumerism are *typing* on anyway.

I wrote about the topic for the Green Blogathon almost two years ago (the links are here and here for those who are interested) and I feel like I should address the subject again.Â?Â? So…

I really get frustrated with people who go on and on about how WONDERFUL it is that they’re recycling, buying organic produce, driving hybrids, getting all their energy from green sources, etc.Â? I mean, it’s great that they’re thinking about the earth and all that but… their lifestyle isn’t necessarily so green and might be using up more resources than they think. Unless their yuppie coffee goes in a reusable to-go mug, they’re wasting paper even if their paper coffee cups are made from recycled paper.Â? Most of them also live in cities and unless they’re using public transportation, they’re not exactly taking away from the greenhouse gas problem which is caused by too many cars on the road.

I should point out that my view of my role in Creation is that of a steward — one whoÂ? manages another’s property, finances, or affairs, in this case what God has created.Â? This means that I think very carefully about the cost both monetarily and ecologically of what I do as well as how it affects the other 6.599999999 billion people on this planet.

I’m all for alternative energy sources — I just happen not to live in a place where they are readily available.Â? Granted, the MATL project is underway and could bring wind power to the area but that’s a few years away.Â? Thus, I’m all for conserving energy, meaning that the lights in the house stay off unless it’s dark outside.Â? Natural light works better for me and the electricity can be put to better uses.

Carpooling would be great… if anyone lived near me that was on my shift.Â? I have a 120 mile drive roundtrip to work 5 days a week and yes, that uses up a ton of gasoline.Â? (For those who’d like to ask me why I don’t work closer to home, I’ll point you to the classifieds for my little town on the prairie where there is NOTHING less than 20-25 miles away.)Â? On the flip side, I combine my drive to work with my grocery shopping and my pharmacy runs so that I don’t *have* to make extra trips into town.Â? Jon does visits in town when he has to go do errands or combines errands with church business.Â? If he has to go to Great Falls, he takes all our recycling with him so that he can drop it off at Pacific Steel or the PepsiCo distributor, redeeming some of his miles.

And that recycling thing?Â? We have to burn our trash here as our town doesn’t have trash pickup (which actually cuts down on landfill space even if there is smoke released into the air) so we pull out our plastics, any aluminum cans, steel cans, glass, and newspaper.Â? Great Falls does have places to take all those things and while it’s time-consuming to do, it’s worth it to not have to put more crap into dump sites.Â? I am in charge of the cans at work and take a big bag home every month or so to be taken to Great Falls during the next trip one of us has to make.Â? Given that we wouldn’t have recycling even if we lived in a place with trash pickup, I think we’re doing pretty darn good.

As far as using our resources wisely, we both clean out our drawers and closets when we get new clothes and donate that which doesn’t fit or doesn’t get worn to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.Â? After all, we’re not going to be able to take all those clothes with us when we die, so what’s the point of having them just stored on earth? We also weed through our possessions on occasion and donate those things which we don’t use — as I said, we can’t take them with us to heaven, so why just store them here on earth?

It’s so great that people are thinking about buying local for produce but I should point out that those of us living in rural areas do that already.Â? I get my eggs from parishioners (10 food miles, if that) as well as quite a bit of produce from people’s garden extras and I could buy beef from parishioners and people in my community if I really wanted to.Â? (Food miles for that are pretty negligible.)Â? As far as chicken, bread, and other fruits and veggies, the Hutterites would come and deliver if I called and asked them.Â? (Food miles: 25+ depending on the colony.)Â? I could even get milk straight from the cow if I wanted to as neighbors of mine have cows that they keep for milk.Â? Ditto on cheese.Â? So exactly why are people bragging about going to farmers’ markets?Â? It’s just part of life here.

In fact, I probably live a greener life than the so-called “greenies” and it’s something I don’t brag about (other than pointing stuff out in this post) because for me, it’s part of living as a faithful steward of God’s Creation.Â? Yes, I shop at Wal-Mart — it’s the cheapest place for catfood, kitty litter, and a couple other staples. Â? Oh yes, there’s also the fact that healthy food *is* more expensive than pre-packaged junk food so if I can get the bag of dried black beans for 50 cents at Wal-Mart, I’m going for it.Â? (Thanks AJ for the link.)

So… I guess my point is: if you can do something positive for the environment, do it.Â? However, do it because you believe in it rather than to get points and be smug about it.Â? After all… your smugness just releases more hot air into the stratosphere and makes you a waste of oxygen.