Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sogkonnite Living

Just a quick shout-out to Kristin and the readers over at Sogkonnite Living!

Earlier this week, Kristin stumbled upon Sustainable Sakonnet and reached out to say hello. Looking at her blog is almost like finding a long-lost twin separated at birth: Similar look, feel, and vibe. It's a great site chronicling what it's like to live and raise a family here in the Sogkonnite/Sakonnet area. I love the focus on local, seasonal food and what to do with it once you get it in the kitchen.

Here's to everything we all to do make this neck of the woods a bit better!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What Would YOUR Green Library Look Like?

Our oldest son, Will, is a budding artist; a six-year-old that loves to draw, paint, build, cut, glue, and everything else that enables creative expression. (Full disclosure: Our daughter, Amelia, is right behind him, though she seems to be drawn more to the culinary arts.)

Will is also one of those kids that asks lots of questions and absorbs more than I think he does. Case in point:

During a recent visit to Essex Library, Miss Janet (the children's librarian) was looking for the kids to think about and draw what they thought the new library would look like. Tiverton Library Services is taking a bold leadership position by pursuing a new structure that aims to be the first "green" library in the state by incorporating elements of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability into the design.*

Well, Miss Janet was interested in the kids' vision of a "green" library. This is what Will came up with:

When I got home from work that day and he showed me his drawing I was floored. Often we talk about all things related to the environment and sustainability; when traveling around Sara and I try to point things out that help reinforce that. To my surprise, he's been listening. When I asked him to describe all that was going on, he told me about the things I've noted on the picture.

Go figure. There are moments where as a parent I take a step back, smile, and glow with pride. Maybe there is hope for the future.

(* Full Disclosure #2: I'm a past member of the Library Building Committee)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bye-Bye gDiapers

Chalk this one under the "Why so much green to be green?" column.

Going with gDiapers was a tactical line item in our Green Baby strategy for Bodhi. But after almost four months we're throwing in the towel and transitioning out of the gDiaper system. Why? Dollars and "sense".

For almost half of what we pay for gDiapers we can get nearly double the amount of conventional diapers. It pains me not to be able to compost our pee-only diapers and lessen our waste stream, but when push comes to shove, the Wallet Factor always seems to win the battle in this theater of economic war.

So that got us thinking (and to some extent, condemning): Why does trying to be an eco-conscious consumer have to break the bank so much?

Now I clearly understand the dynamics of supply-and-demand-meets-eco-label-premium, but if we're going to change broad-stroke consumer behavior, green products cannot be just accessible by certain socioeconomic strata. It creates a kind of Green Haves vs. Green Have Nots.

That being said, changing mere consumer behavior is not the silver bullet solution to our environmental woes. We all know that. But at the end of the day, I believe limiting overall consumption (a.k.a., buying boatloads of stuff) is a better strategy across the board. Doing more with less and changing the tide of consumer excess has more longer term traction.

Much easier said than done, I know. It's something that will take hard work and deliberate thought. And in today's world those are two things many try to avoid at all costs. Yet another conundrum.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seeking Clarity and Direction

Mid-August already. So much going on that it’s tough to find the time for writing. Just like most of you, it’s a constant juggling of responsibilities and priorities. What has taken a backseat is clear though: My chutzpah for being Mr. Green.

We still do all those things that we’ve done in the past – your basic to-do list for sustainable living: limiting consumption, the Three R’s, composting, growing some of our own food, frequenting locally-owned businesses, etc. This manner of living has become the norm. When is enough enough? How are you to do more in your own day-to-day? Especially when you are confined by the reality of finances, budgets, free time, and sapped motivation?

I’m at a crossroads: Not sure what to do with this ‘passion’ for being green, for this blog, for all of it. Taking a step back, it’s clear that right now with three young children my priority (and free time) is with my family, where it should be. There are many things happening in town that are slowly pushing the sustainability agenda – some I’m aware of, some I am not. I’m OK with that. When I started this blog, there was little coverage of ‘green’ things, no opportunity for a conversation. Now, not a week goes by when even the (real) local media is not covering a story related to local food, renewable energy, etc. This is good progress.

I want to do so many things – big and small – that they get in the way of each other, stalling progress on every front. Perhaps you’re familiar with that feeling? As Sara likes to tell me, “You need to uni-task!” (the arch nemesis of multi-tasking).

What else is clear is that I need the proverbial shot in the arm to kick-start things. Mostly likely this will take the form of a career change or new job; something to sink my teeth into during most of my waking hours. The perfect scenario will be finding something in the for-profit green sector – marrying my strong business background with this personal passion of mine. Maybe I’ll start to blog about my trials and tribulations of trying to find that perfect white-meets-green-collar experience? Or maybe it's just as simple as a paid writing gig on the side?

This post is a bit more personal than I like to get. But it's done in the spirit of sharing. We've all been in this sandbox before, trying to figure out what to play with next. Here's to a virtual camaraderie. Be well.