Monday, February 2, 2009

Should We Stop Keeping Up With the Joneses?

© photo copyright Carrie Boyko
Toni and Oliver have Something to Say

It's funny how, as a Nation, we are so competitive. Teenagers have to wear their Hollister labels on the outside of their shirts, ladies handbags boast their designer's unique look or logo, automobiles taut our financial--or apparent--financial success, and even senior citizens get caught up in the game with their country club memberships, botox and fancy manicures. Once something becomes " in" Vogue, everyone seems to follow. We're a Nation of followers.

Sometimes this following is what gets us into financial trouble, though, like our current credit crisis. Most of the credit card balances people carry are substantially due to purchases that were all about choice, and nothing to do with necessity. Even keeping our kids in dance class can sometimes end up being a cost which doesn't fit into our budget. If not, there is always the park. Some playground equipment and a kickball game every afternoon will help to keep your child in shape and his or her energy drained so they can focus on homework.

Those of you who know me personally are probably saying, "Yeah. We know Carrie had her kids at the park every afternoon, right. "WRONG! I'll admit my kids had more than their share of organized sports activities, for which we paid dearly. But it didn't go on a credit card, thank goodness.

I'm not judging, mind you; as I've just admitted, my kids got their typical afternoon activities in classic suburban style, with plenty of expensive travel teams, uniforms and yes, even private lessons now and then. Back then, it was all about the kids' future and helping them to find their talents and future paths. I guess that's how I justified it. Don't get me wrong. If I had to go back, I'd probably play it similarly to how I did then. I still believe that kids need help finding their strengths and gaining confidence through their activities. But that's another subject altogether. I'll get back on track.

Now, I'm finding that my own keeping up with the Joneses is taking on a different angle. Yes, I am a follower too. But with my Target handbag and my Walmart denim jacket that I love, I am not so much a fashion and affluence follower as I am a green living follower. Who am I following? I guess I would put Ed Begley Jr. in that position, since he's the only one I can place a semi-recognizable name on. He's the star of the Living with Ed TV show, and the author of Living Like Ed, both focusing on how to live a more Earth-friendly lifestyle. Begley is an actor, whom I have been aware of since his role in the original movie, The In-Laws, from 1979. Since about 1970, Ed has been living a totally green life, with nearly a zero carbon footprint. He's a person I am willing learn from, which I suppose is akin to following. If you'd like to learn more about Living Like Ed, join me on Monday, February 9 for a review of his book. Meanwhile, tomorrow I'll be passing along a few sites to help with your organic cooking efforts.

Speaking of organic cooking; On a whim, I posted some organic cooking videos this past weekend, along with my own Superbowl Chili. The videos start with a delicious looking chicken recipe that I plan to try soon. I'd love to hear your comments.

One last note. On Wednesday, January 28, I posted some green social networks and promised to join one. I have now completed my profile, calculated my carbon footprint, and viewed some of the groups who are working in various ways to lower their own carbon footprints. You can join as an individual, a group, or a company, and watch your actions reduce your carbon footprint. It's a pretty cool concept. I'm thinking about forming a group, with the theme of cleaning up and maintaining clean dog parks. That sounds like me, right?

I'm not totally sure what the effect of doggie poo is on the environment. Would this group be more of a social-action group, than a sustainable Earth group? Hmmm? I do know that runoff from these doggie leftovers after a rain carries the remnants of their food's pesticides, herbicides, food colorings and preservatives into the ground and our water table. These unattended piles often get stepped in, as well, and then taken home with either the dog or the human carrying remnants on their feet or shoes. That is definitely a bad thing for us and our Earth. So, that's what I'm trying to avoid, or at least minimize. For purposes of this goal, I'm qualifying it as a sustainable Earth project, even though it would qualify as a social action group, as well. That's good, right?

My thought is that I would pledge to walk my local dog park each week, picking up piles that others have missed, including trash, and encourage others to join my online group at Make Me Sustainable, to do the same with their own local dog parks. If you'd like to be a part of this, I'd love to hear your comments. Or, just join me at Make Me Sustainable. I haven't formed the group yet, as I'd like to percolate this action plan and come up with an appropriate name. Any ideas?

1 comment:

richard said...

in re: to following leaders to a green or greener life style, people should consider adopting a fully or, at least, a largely vegetarian diet. as an act of full disclosure, i should note i've been a vegetarian for about 30 years, but i'm not offering myself up as an example or attempting to proselytize, but merely pointing out that there's a huge discrepancy between producing a pound of (dead) meat and (beautiful) vegetables (o.k., maybe this post isn't entirely free of proselytizing).

choosing a vegetarian diet is not only an act of going green for the planet, it is also and healthy for individuals, and patriotic, since it reduces the countries reliance on foreign oil.

and how many other things that we can do in our daily life that will have a positive effect on the planet, ourselves and this country?


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