I thoroughly enjoyed Abbie's How Green Are You Quiz last week - gleefully checking off the answers and pleased to find myself a nice shade of Emerald Green. I gave myself a pat on the back. Not bad for someone who's been on the eco journey for some time. Long enough to have sampled almost everything "eco" and thrown a good share back as not me, too difficult or too kooky.
I still got it! I may drive too much in my minivan, I may not line dry my clothes any more, and I may have resorted to occasional yogurt tubes in lunch boxes despite the plastic but hey, I'm still green, ya'll!
Landing on "Emerald Green" was a hollow victory, though. And not just because Abbie meant her quiz to be tongue in cheek. No, it was hollow because I realized that I have finally reached the place in my environmental journey where I ask the much pondered question:
Do individual actions really matter?
For the past four and half years, I've walked and biked all over the place. I've frozen my buns off. I've grown my own vegetables and eaten 90% local for a couple of years. I gave up almost any sort of disposables, eschewed new for second hand, and have been eaten alive by guilt over things like: forgetting my canvas bags, buying garden starts in non-recyclable plastic pots and springing for new sweat pants for the boys for school.
And you know what?
I'm more afraid to write about climate change today than I was in 2007. Then, most Americans accepted climate change for what it was - scientific fact. Today, it is a political hot potato, most Americans do not believe it is true.
Despite the disbelief, more people are "living green." Heck, most Americans prefer organic to conventional food but I'm not convinced that individual action will get us where we need to go. Resorting to cloth wipes and canvas totes hasn't put a dent in global warming yet. So how do we get there?
This week is a two week of protest against the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline. Something that climate scientists call a "game over" for climate change if Obama allows it to go through. Environmentalists are calling on people to come to Washington DC, protest the pipeline project and risk jail for civil disobedience. Another member of the Green Moms Carnival is going. I'm awed. I'm wowed. I'm jealous. And I am afraid.
That the media will not cover it.
That it won't make a difference.
And mostly, afraid to make any sort of commitment like that. Instead, I'll stay home and make some yogurt from organic milk bottled by a local company in a returnable glass bottle. I'll can my homegrown tomatoes and then hit the thrift store for back to school clothes.
Will it be good enough?