THE BLOG

It Ain't Easy Being Green

07/21/2013 11:19 EDT | Updated 09/20/2013 05:12 EDT

I perform regularly on the CBC Radio show, "The Debaters," so in the spirit of recycling here is a debate on living green.

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Kermit the frog, said "It's not easy being green." You got that right, Kerm! In fact, it isn't easy smelling green, either. I bought a bamboo yoga suit and when I sweat smell like a Burmese forest.

Saving energy is the most necessary but exhausting behaviour.

I began using compost worms. You think cats are fussy? Worms won't take your garbage unless you've ground your kitchen scraps in a blender. (Note to Cousin Francine: I told you that wasn't a smoothie.)

I use cloth bags for my groceries. Or, at least, I intend to. I still haven't gotten them from the car to the grocery store, but I still say no to plastic bags. No matter how many groceries I have, I stuff as many items in my handbag as I can. I've gone through three purses so far. I'm reducing plastic, but increasing leather consumption. The cows may be mad, but there are fewer of them passing wind.

I am also in touch with garbage. Where I live, we have no curbside pickup. Our garbage men are called husbands. After my husband got voted off the island, going to the dump became my responsibility.

The first time I had to go there, I thought maybe I should have tried harder to make my marriage work. The whole experience of going to the dump is a way of increasing lung capacity. My lungs got so strong, I could buy my "pay-as-you-throw" tickets, have a chat with the attendant, Dr. Love, unload a month of garbage, and not breathe until I got out to the main road.

I have also gotten in touch with the seedier side of life. The feral cats roam the place like deadbeat dads. So do retired men. Women may go to the washroom in pairs, but men go to the dump in packs. (Considering what happens in both these places, maybe there isn't that much difference between the genders after all.) The guys stand around, casually talking trash by the heap of rotting garbage their bellies hanging over their belts.. With guts that size, they may be recycling, but they're sure as hell not reducing. Even so, I've noticed they do look a lot younger than men who don't frequent the dump. There's a lot of wind out there, and if they stand in the right direction, it pulls back their wrinkles, making them look like they've just had a Botox treatment.

But you have to watch these Slumdog thousandaires or they'll start bringing home treasures. Ladies, I can tell you from experience, if that happens, you must treat your fellow the way you would a cat when it lays a dead mouse on the welcome mat. Scream at them: "Get that thing out of here!"

Conservation can be a complicated issue. Dr. Love told me that his doctor told him to get off trans-fat. I asked, "Why don't you get off salad, because that lettuce travels 1,500 miles to get here?" The cost of oil is going up but it's still cheapest substance on the planet. You can put four people in a car and drive four blocks on a cup of gas. You can't get a rickshaw driver for that.

Let's face it: We're addicted to oil. We're powerless over the fossil. I don't know how to get off it, which source of energy to use. I've got a gas fireplace, an oil furnace, and a propane stove. I check the paper every day and use the one that's cheapest. I got a Smart car because it's supposed to be energy efficient, but it's like American beer: I can't get a head on it. I drove by one of the wind farm turbines and the Smart car got sucked up. Where I live the only "green shift" is what the cormorants leave all over the front lawn.

The government's solution to any addiction is to levy a tax. They get us hooked on smokes and booze, and when we can't live without them, they tax us. We need to go to a 12-step program. Our leaders need to be sponsors -- be the power of example and go to the ethanol clinic with us -- because, as addicts, we make promises we can't keep. Like when my kids were little, I said I wasn't going to use disposable diapers, but I wasn't committed. I kept a spare pack around just for travel, then just for the park, then just for the middle of the night. Before I knew it, I was up to three packs a day.

No longer can we bury our heads (or our garbage) in the tar sands. We need visionaries who will have the creativity and courage to lead us into a new way of doing things. In fact, I think we need more females in power. We could use menopausal women as an alternative heat source: We could plug our fingers into a generator and refuel the heating panels at night. We're not sleeping anyway. Of course, you'd have to remind us why we were in the furnace room in the first place. We'd probably get the heat going then get a power surge and scream at the cat, "Take that fur coat off, you're making me hot just looking at you!"

No matter what the solution to our energy woes is, it's going to take courage to stick to it. It's not easy being green, but it's even harder being yellow.

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