A Day In The Life: When Advocating for Green Is Easier Than Being Green

June 19th, 2010

I was amused last week when I saw these tweets from a California conference. “Green is Mainstream.”  “It’s not a differentiator.” “It’s just what everyone does.”

Really? Maybe I need another trip to California. (But of course, that wouldn’t be too green.)

For this month’s Green Moms’ Carnival, Beth of Fake Plastic Fish challenged the Green Moms to write about a “Day in the Life,” reflecting on the “green steps we take as well as the green challenges we face and the hard decisions we have to make.”

As luck would have it, I chose a day that ended up revealing a sad truth: sometimes it’s easier to advocate for green than to be green. Does that make me a hypocrite? Or does it just show how much more work we have to do before being green in Maryland is as easy as being green in California?

But back to my day….It was Wednesday, June 9th, cloudy and overcast, and threatening showers as I closed the front door. I was heading out  to the Bethesda Green Incubator, where my business is located. I was on time (mindful that running late invariably results in taking the car instead of walking), ready for an easy 15 minute walk.

But I hesitated.

The sky was dark. What if it rained? I  had my laptop, after all. I wouldn’t want that to get soaked, would I? I debated. I thought about Beth. I thought about the Carnival. I thought about water seeping through my bag, damaging my laptop. The minutes crept away. I was on the verge of being late. I took the car. It’s not a Hybrid.  It consumes oil, the very kind that’s seeping into the Gulf.

BG entrancephoto

At the Incubator, I walked out to our model-green reception area to meet Ariana Kelly, a Moms Rising advocate and candidate for the Maryland State House.

I told her the Bethesda Green story: how the community came together – business, government, and residents – to take on volunteer projects to make our community more sustainable. I pointed out the cork floors, the low VoC paints, the rain barrel displays, the permaculture exhibit, specimen seed library, and solar panels.

Then we walked across the street for lunch (so far, so good) and ate a lunch that assuredly was not sustainable. (After all, when it’s sustainably raised seafood they charge more for it and advertise it as such, don’t they?)  At least our conversation was green. We talked about all that Maryland was doing with B Corp legislation and the BPA ban, and the Bethesda Green Business Delegation that met in Annapolis recently.

The Bethesda Green Delegation was sure to snap a pic of Bethesda's own Honest Tea on the steps of the State Capitol

Then I ran out to retrieve my car, soon discovering the day’s first stroke of Bad Green Karma. A parking ticket.I should have walked. Not a drop of rain fell from the sky. And now I owed $40. My lunch had suddenly became quite expensive.

Later that afternoon, I picked Boo up from preschool, wincing as he carried some Pepperidge Farm goldfish in a plastic cup out the door. Every day, I dutifully packed reusable containers. Couldn’t they be used to pack up snacks?, I wondered. Must remember to bring that up to the teachers, I thought, as I dashed out the door to my car  (yet again). After all, we had to hurry to make it to the CSA pick-up, and then on to the end-of-year  Cub Scout picnic.

Soon, I stood at the CSA, hurriedly weighing  the fresh-picked biodynamic and organic produce. Scallions? Check. Apples? Natch.  Radishes, swiss chard, kale, fresh-baked bread, lettuce, they all went into my re-usable bag.


I heard Boo fussing, and asked him to be patient and wait for Mommy.   I was in a hurry, after all, and there were four people behind me, waiting to use the scale.

Then I heard it.


Tiny bits of crushed Pepperidge Farm goldfish – all over the pristine garage  floor of the CSA. Ev eryone froze, looked at Boo, and then looked at me. I sighed and said, “That’s what happens when you dare to bring Pepperidge Farm goldfish to a biodynamic CSA. God strikes you down.”

After the laughter died down, a broom appeared, everything was swept up, and we were off on our way to the picnic.

I was in such a hurry, I didn’t bother to check directions before I left the house. And my in-car navigator (Big Boy) wasn’t with me….he had left ahead of time with his friends and their Mom. So I overshot the park. Sat, idling (burning more of that fuel) in front of an apartment building 1 /4 mile from the turn-off for the park, frantically navigating my iPhone, trying to figure out where I was supposed to be.

(Maybe at this point I should mention my DH was on Day Seven of an extended business trip. The one where he gets to hang out in a castle by the Mediterranean Sea. And I was spent from playing Single Mom for a week).


Finally, we arrived at the picnic, eager to partake in the festivities. I frowned at the hot dogs and hamburgers, thinking of the heavy burden conventional farming techniques, especially those used to rear cattle and pork, place on our ecosystem. I helped myself to some salad, trying to ignore Boo’s pleas for a hotdog or hamburger, before finally giving in. Their father, the committed vegetarian, was out of town. And we so rarely had meat. They even had a grill! I ended up eating some myself.


But the bottled water? That was just beyond the pale. I hurried out to my car to retrieve my stainless steel water bottle. At least I had remembered that! When I returned, my friend smirked and asked me to look closely at the bottled water. They weren’t drinking water, she said.

wine in waterbottlephoto

I burst out laughing. Cub Scout parents surreptitiously drinking wine from empty water bottles? It brought back memories of alcohol snuck into parties when I was under-age. It was too funny. I had to have some! (Just on general principle!) But how? I only had my water bottle, and Boo needed some water. My not-so-green friend eyed me, amusedly. She knew exactly the calculation I was making.

“I’m not touching those plastic bottles!” I hissed.

I asked Boo if he wanted some more water.

“No, I’m fine,” he told me.

“Drink up, “ I urged. “There won’t be any more water.”

“I’M FINE!!!”

I dumped the rest of the water out of my re-usable water bottle and smiled contentedly as her husband filled it part way with the red wine. It wasn’t that good, actually, but it was the absurdity of the situation that made it worthwhile.


“Mama, can I have some more water?”

That’s when I gave up and opened one of those darn plastic water bottles.

(And made a mental note to see if we couldn’t procure some large water jugs for the next Cub Scout picnic.)

And decided that I had more than enough material for a  decent “Day in the Life” post.

Easy to be green? Maybe in California. But not where I live.

What about you?

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

15 Responses to “A Day In The Life: When Advocating for Green Is Easier Than Being Green”

  1. Tweets that mention Organic and Green Mom Blog | A Day In The Life: When Advocating for Green Is Easier Than Being Green at Organic Mania -- Topsy.com on June 19, 2010 9:39 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Green Moms Carnival, Danika Carter. Danika Carter said: RT @Greenmoms: A Day In The Life: When Advocating for Green Is Easier Than Being Green: I was amused last week when I saw these t… http://bit.ly/bTf0Qw […]

  2. Sabrina Ahmed on June 20, 2010 12:39 pm

    I can definitely attest to that! Telling people why Green is great and how they can be ‘Greener’ is easy. Taking your own advice and strictly living the life you preach… well sometimes there are bumps in the road. Especially for families with children.

    If your a Green mom like me and always looking for encouragement and information about new and EASY ways to reduce your family’s carbon foot print, http://www.greeneutopia.com had some great info. They also had a nifty little store that only sells Green and Sustainable home products. I hope this resource helps you all!

    Go Green!

  3. Lynn on June 20, 2010 5:54 pm

    Thanks, Sabrina….yes, bumps in the road. Thanks for your comment! :) Lynn

  4. Amber on June 21, 2010 10:02 pm

    I’m not sure if I could have resisted the wine myself, honestly. It’s just too good of an opportunity to pass up. Perhaps you need a kid water bottle and a big people water bottle, so that you can partake guilt-free in the future. 😉
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..There’s not much Vacation in a Family Vacation =-.

  5. karen hanrahan on June 22, 2010 12:20 pm

    Your post title is the most honest yet – truthful be told

    your inner thoughts and outloud declarations just crack me up – i think actually if we could streamline our subconscious thoughts into one big whoville “we’re here” it would be a roar. what would it be saying ? It’s not easy being green!!

    The wine at the scouts event is truly tooooo funny for words.
    .-= karen hanrahan´s last blog ..Belly Buttons =-.

  6. Lynn on June 22, 2010 3:15 pm

    Hey Amber and Karen,

    Thanks for your comments! Funny how everyone – Beth too – keyed in on the wine. I guess it was pretty funny! By that point, I was spent…and very glad when my DH came home the next day!

    I get such a kick out of telling these stories here in my blog and I’m so glad they bring a smile to your face! — Lynn

  7. Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green on June 22, 2010 9:49 pm

    I love this post, honest and funny. We do the best we can. :)

  8. Katy on June 23, 2010 6:05 pm

    Too funny. I felt myself in the frantic “where am I supposed to be next” part of your post. It is a constant challenge, everywhere you go, right?

    And the picture of where your husband was just cracked me up. Such a tough business trip!

    And wouldn’t it make a nice dateline show: the green crimes of green mom bloggers– caught in the act (opening bottled water– gasp!). We’ve all been there.
    .-= Katy´s last blog ..Book Review: Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint =-.

  9. mcmilker on June 25, 2010 6:23 am

    Too funny Lynn and quite a bit like the day in the life of any parent in California…it’s easier being green when you’re single- where ever you live! And in California we do way too much lip service to green as we get in our cars and travel 20 miles without a thought!

    Sorry I missed this carnival- really fun!

  10. Environmentally Friendly - Healthy Lifestyle and Nutrition tips for Healthy Homes — KiwiLog - KIWI Magazine’s Blog on June 28, 2010 7:38 am

    […] Sometimes, advocating for green is easier than actually being green, says Organic Mania. […]

  11. KiwiLog on June 28, 2010 7:43 am

    Hi! We loved your post over at KiwiLog and decided to feature it as part of our weekly mom blog roundup. Thanks!

  12. Lynn on June 28, 2010 8:03 pm

    Katy, MC and Kiwi – Thanks so much for your comments! What fun finding them…I just got back from TedXOilSpill and now I’m inspired to blog again….if I can stay up that late! — Lynn

  13. Lynn on June 30, 2010 7:51 pm

    Thanks, Lisa, I just found your comment! I think everyone likes the funny posts best! :) I should take more time to laugh at myself! :)

  14. Organic and Green Mom Blog | Keeping Cool with Ice Cream: How to Save, What to Buy (Part 1) at Organic Mania on July 24, 2010 4:17 pm

    […] is a big fan of Edy’s. It’s what she served at a recent Cub Scout picnic (you remember –  the one where the parents covertly drank wine from water bottles). I wondered if I was a fool for shelling out $5.69 for Alden’s organic ice cream, when the kids […]

  15. Green Homes on November 14, 2011 8:42 am

    You’re right. It’s sometimes so much easier to advocate instead of do. My husband and I would like to buy a green home that looks somewhat like your reception center, but we just don’t have the money! It’s hard trying to be green all the time, but if the desire is there and you keep trying, that counts a little bit!

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