I feel like an eco-freak a lot of the time. Sometimes it’s pretty easy to forget when I’m in my own little world here. My little world is an oasis, an environmentally friendly oasis. I feel kinda good, like I’m making some sort of difference: recycling everything I can, reducing and reusing, collecting wine corks that would otherwise be thrown away, and on and on.
Eco-consciousness colors everything I do.
And then I get a jolt. Recently I went on a trip and was acutely aware of waste at every turn—from the large, bleached paper napkins the size of hand towels to the auto flush toilets that trigger three times per trip on average. At least they’re low-flow, right? And then there were the pretty much non-existent recycling options. It’s enough to make me crazy!
I felt so guilty at every turn, from the jet fuel spewing over the landscape on the flights to the fifty-six seat charter bus for our meager tour party of seventeen. The bus idled during the times we weren’t on the road. You know I’m anti-idling. Twist the knife again!
I did what I could. I asked for a real mug instead of the typical polystyrene cup when we stopped at the local coffee shop. I wiped my hands on my pants in the restroom as opposed to paper towel usage when there weren’t auto hand dryers, and I declined maid service during our hotel stay because we didn’t need daily fresh towels and sheets.
I brought my own stainless steel water bottle and travel mug along with me, so that also helped assuage my guilt a tiny bit.
And I wondered. What did the hotel do with the heaps of extra food left after the breakfast buffet? The perfectly good scrambled eggs, potatoes, and bacon didn’t go into the dumpster, did they?
I saw all this waste and I felt like an island. An eco-freak island. Does anybody else care, I wondered? I know there are other eco-freaks out there, where are you? Treading lightly on the Earth, inasmuch as we can, should be a priority. If your complaint is that it’s too hard, the only way it will get easier is to practice it daily and together.