Saturday, October 27, 2007

Kermit was right

It isn't easy being green. Or even just trying to be green. Or even just coming up with my own personal definition of green, that may or may not satisfy someone else's definition.

And we all know it's impossible to satisfy all the squeaky wheels out there. First there's the vegetarians that claim you can't be green if you consume any animal products. Then you get into animal rights, which go so far as to demand we don't even own domestic animals (sometimes referred to as pets, other times as family members ... ) It just goes on and on.

And how about going carbon neutral? By buying up "offset credits"? Another way the wealthy among us can keep nice and comfy and still claim to be green. It's no secret that the only fuel efficient vehicles on the road that are the least bit comfortable also cost more than most of us make in an entire year.

But I'm a mom, and my critics are a small but very noisy group. And they do not like to be uncomfortable. Not in the car (an SUV), not in the home (electronic thermostat set for optimal room temps according to season), no weird stuff on their plates (plain ole spaghetti and white bread for these boys). I do what I can (put that in recycling!), nag and push a little here and there, and compromise when I have to.

Where my boys are concerned, their safety comes first. And therein lies a big problem ... those CFL light bulbs that even Wal-Mart is promoting, in place of our good ole cheap incandescents. Some places, like California, are even trying to eliminate the incandescents so we HAVE to use the CFL's. I'm not saying I don't use them, I do. All over the house ... in ceiling fixtures. But I'm not comfortable in full-house usage, particularly in the boys' bedroom, where an airborne toy could somehow, maybe, possibly knock over a lamp, sending it crashing to the floor, where it will disintegrate into a million pieces scattered throughout the debris of clothes (clean and not-so-clean), toys, books, dishes (who brought a cereal bowl up here?) and whatever else has found its way to the floor of their shared bedroom, and thereby contaminating their living space with ... mercury.

I'm supposed to properly dispose of a thermometer that is not even touched by the children except under close parental supervision in a calm and subdued manner, on the theory that it exposes them to a possible risk of mercury exposure. But then, I'm supposed to replace every light bulb in the house, including those in tippable and breakable and otherwise precarious and not under close parental supervision areas, with a light bulb that actually contains mercury, and is accompanied by "instructions for proper disposal" in the extreme situations that may arise in the event of possible (which in any child's home is PROBABLE) breakage.

I don't know, but I've never even heard of a thermometer breaking by any close personal friends, but I sure have cleaned up my share of broken light bulbs. And my kids aren't even teenagers yet. And let's just be honest here, forget about the houseful of guys horsing around, because I'm the real Klutz in this house. If anything's going to get broken, I'm usually involved, and unfortunately that gene seems to have passed on to the Pumpkin.

I do what I can, I read labels over and over, I put things back on the shelf (no trans fats, sorry but I gotta draw the line somewhere), I even clean my bathroom with baking soda (burns more calories that way, and still whitens and brightens!). But those CFL's are not going to save the earth by endangering my kids.

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