A Green Day Is Coming

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

We've gone greener at my house. No solar panels or hemp underwear yet - we're concentrating on food and its accouterments at the moment.

It hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. (Most of this was my wife's idea.) Life remains livable despite the banishment of some convenience items. But, yes, there is a little bit of sacrifice involved.

Here's my list of what's been easy, and not so easy, to give up:

Paper napkins: We started using cloth ones, and they're fine. You can go several meals between launderings, especially if your diet is light on barbecued ribs.

I say this fully aware that two fiftysomething adults are somewhat less messy than, say, a 5-year-old. I've been there. I know that it can easily take an entire forest of paper napkins to keep a kindergartener from turning a perfectly nice house into a hellhole of cheese-puff dust and grape-jelly residue.

One must save one's sanity before one can save the planet.

Plastic cutlery: Why did I ever buy forks and spoons for one-time use? It's ridiculous. The world is awash in used metal cutlery, as a trip to any thrift store will quickly prove. And it's cheap, so if a fork accidentally gets thrown away at a picnic, it's no big deal.

And here's a bonus: They actually work. You'll never snap a tine off a metal fork while trying to spear a piece of broccoli.

Grocery bags: Oh, sure, I feel all virtuous and European when I show up at Kroger with a cloth bag. But disposable grocery sacks are very useful things to have around the house.

I think they give me a sense of security. What if I have to flee to the hinterlands during an alien invasion? Won't I be glad I kept some Target bags on hand to carry my refrigerator magnet collection (which could be accepted as currency if civilization breaks down)?

Beef: We grew tired of reading about how cows are pumped full of antibiotics, filled up on corn and then made to stand around in their own waste, emitting greenhouse gases and awaiting slaughter. Somehow it's just not conducive to enjoying a hamburger. So we stopped buying it.

I insisted, though, on a meatball exception. (My ancestors came from Italy.) The meatballs, though, will be grass-fed.

Cheap food: Having become somewhat organic, we find ourselves buying food that costs more.

I tell myself that in the long run this will save me money by making me healthier and therefore less likely to face ruinous health insurance copayments.

In the short run, though, I miss supermarket bargains. Ramen noodles for 19 cents a package are a beautiful, if somewhat less than nutritionally sound, thing.

Whale meat: Also, we don't eat whale meat. In fact, we've never eaten whale meat. But I thought I'd put it on the list anyway, in case Greenpeace is considering me for an award.

Joe Blundo's column So to Speak appears in the Life section of The Columbus Dispatch. Visit his blog at Dispatch.com