Confessions of an Accidental Environmentalist

by Daisy

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Some aspects of environmental friendliness come easily to me.  It goes hand in hand with one of my hallmark characteristics: laziness. I don’t know how I got this way because by and large I come from hardworking stock. Perhaps I’m just a visionary. Yes. Let’s say I am an ecological visionary.

1.  I almost never wash my car.  Blessedly it’s that metallic sort of tan that blends in well with the dust. It only looks really dirty when parked next to everyone elses brilliantly polished ride.  Where do you people find the time?

2.  I don’t water my lawn.  That’s okay, because it’s mostly weeds which are tenacious survivors, which leads me to number 3:

3.  I don’t fertilize and herbicide my yard.  Expensive, environmentally suspect, and . . . where do you people find the time?  Seriously.

4.  I hope you will refrain from canceling your rss feeds and immediately erasing all trace of this blog from your minds and hard drives, but . . . I seldom flush.  Yes, yes, for serious things, but, for less weighty matters, not so much.  It doesn’t feel necessary. All that water. That tiresome pushing down of the handle . . .  Don’t hate me.

5.  I don’t iron. Frankly, I don’t know how I would iron since there’s so much debris stacked on top of the ironing board it wouldn’t be worth it to try.  I’ve figured out a way around this, though:

6.  I wear the same thing day after day.  I wish it were some sort of Georgia O’Keefe-ian “black in the winter, white in the summer” lifestyle/fashion statement. But frankly it’s more of a “hey this fits and if I scrape the dried oatmeal off the sleeve it doesn’t look that bad” statement.  Sometimes I’ve even slept in it so I don’t have the opportunity to use that iron anyway. See the logic? Flawless.

This is off the top of my head.  If I weren’t so stultifyingly slothful I could come up with more ways I give green living a black eye, but I think I’ve done enough.

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda December 1, 2009 at 3:28 am

I can so totally relate to most of what you’re saying here. I do flush more than you do and I change my clothes almost daily depending on what I dropped down it the night before but I have been known to sleep in them and I think I have an iron somewhere in the house!! It’s mainly used for weighting down hand-made cards to be sure the glue sticks properly. Other than that, I admire your honesty and can happily say I must be an accidental environmentalist too – or maybe just mental LOL

renee @ FIMBY December 1, 2009 at 6:29 am

Oh I liked this and can relate to all 6.

Eusebia December 1, 2009 at 6:56 am

Me too, I can relate to all the things you mention. I think most of my greenness is actually pure laziness! For many things it is the path of least resistance (especially selective flushing and waiting until outfits get really grungy before peeling them off). This should probably keep me from feeling smug but I’m still quite proud of myself. Thanks for sharing all your fabulous, inspiring ideas once more.

Kim S. December 1, 2009 at 7:49 am

I love you, and I love this blog. I have done–still do!–everything on this list…and only my in-laws don’t know it. 😀

MsRobyn December 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

Ms Tomato Lady! This is also an example of why I love it here! Your sense of humor is fantastic! LOL I too can relate to everything on your list! As a kid growing up, we had the outside potty. Therefore, (being the oldest of seven) we LOVED watching the water in the toilet bowl swirl. My Dad said, “OK, enough of the flushing, we’re only going to flush if we go number 2!!!” I am now 55 years young and I can laugh at those things. I too like to see what kinds of pretty flowers grow on the tip tops of weeds… hehehe… Ironing board? Gee, I thought you only used it for crafts! Also, there are times I’m a little embarrassed about the grime on my car, but the wheels roll! I loved your blog for the day! I love coming here to see what is going on and what new things I may be able to learn. You’ve made my day once again! Keep them coming sweet lady!

Cathy December 1, 2009 at 8:27 am

Ha, we’d get along great! I’m the same way except for maybe number 6. I alternate between about 3 outfits and never sleep in them…sleeping in my b-day suit saves laundry, though, right? (in my defense, I’m pregnant and hormonal and always hot!)

Emily December 1, 2009 at 8:44 am

Oh yeah, we all seem to be of the same flock here.

Except my toddler has lately begun to flush for me…even before I’m ready come to think of it.

busywithkids December 1, 2009 at 9:32 am

I agree wholeheartedly! These are all things I do as well.

I just wish I could convince my children that, unless the clothes are stained or smell, you can really wear them more than once! *sigh* It wastes less water, and the clothes last longer. I mean really. Ah well.

Michelle December 1, 2009 at 9:36 am

I knew there was a reason I felt such a connection to you! These all make perfect sense to me…and now I can say that I, TOO, am being environmentally friendly…on accident! Oh…and I flush every other…unless of course, well…you know…

the Bag Lady December 1, 2009 at 9:40 am

This cracked me up!
I DO use my iron frequently – for sewing!
I never fertilize/herbicide my lawn – it’s enormous, and who could afford it?
Ditto for the garden – all natural is the way to go (I use manure for fertilizer, and put the ashes from the wood stove on it in the winter)
I never water the lawn, either (as I pointed out, it’s enormous) – this year, the lack of watering also meant I didn’t have to mow…. drought conditions! I did, however, have to water the garden – no point in doing all the work of putting it in only to have it wither and die from lack of water.
And I only wash my truck when I can no longer tell (remember?) what colour it is.

MsRobyn December 1, 2009 at 10:00 am

Oh my gosh, when I reread my comment I have to make a correction. When my parents built the new house, it had an indoor bathroom. We loved the new toilet! HAHAHA! Oh my! Getting old isn’t for sissys, I’m forgetfull these days, GEESH! I only told half the story!

Kat December 1, 2009 at 11:26 am

Yes, yes, and YES!
I’d also add the eschewing of the morning chemical drench so many people do. I shower every third day, don’t use make-up or perfumes, don’t use hairspray or goop, and rarely need to resort to deodorant. Thus, I’m ready to go in ten minutes, instead of the hour or more it takes the majority of us American women to get out the door. Nothing cracks me up more than the overly made-up women with dyed or bleached hair at the grocery store buying organic zucchini.

whit December 1, 2009 at 11:30 am

Sounds familiar. We subscribe to most of the 6 outlined in your post. A few years ago my hubbie had to go and do a crazy thing like get himself appointed to manager of an environment engineering section in our city, so stiff cotton shirt were acquired and since have been starched and pressed in our home. What a backwards way to do things, eh? 🙂

We also share your same toilet habits…my daughters favourite saying is, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” Now, i also have seen a few blogs about people using river rocks for tp. Don’t know if i could go that far to save the environment. What about you?

Ken December 1, 2009 at 11:39 am

I love it, and can totally relate. For us, it’s all about saving time. The positive environmental implications are a nice bonus.

Demakat December 1, 2009 at 12:10 pm

I had no idea how green I was!
My family does almost all of these things. Except for the not flushing. We have one dog that will only drink out of the toilet (and we let him he’s old) and a new cat who has taking to sticking her head into the toilet to see whats happenin! So there are reasons to flush always here, but otherwise go lazy green!

Katie December 1, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I can wear the same pair of pants for a few days on end. As long as I don’t spill something down it or have it toddlerified, I am good to go.

I only own about 3 pairs of pants that fit to my taste and my laundry pile gets mountainous before I decide to do it so…

Ariana December 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Ah ha ha ha! I do all of those things! In fact, I am still wearing part PJs and part yesterday’s shirt and fleece, which I slept in and will only get out of once I have to leave the house this evening. I am also of the yellow-mellow, brown-flush it down inclination. However, my old dog has taken to drinking out of her ‘giant water bowl’ no matter what is in there (ack!), so I’ve been flushing more often than not.

Teresa December 1, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I remember a while back I read a little ditty about “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” for when to flush toilets.

And, we don’t do any of that stuff either. Like the Bag Lady, though, I do use the iron when I’m sewing, but that’s about it.

Teresa December 1, 2009 at 6:20 pm

D’oh, I left the screen up for so long before commenting that others have already said what I’ve said…sorry for the repeat!

Marie December 1, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I have actually been pondering my laziness these days. Now I know, I’m not the only one. I will sleep in a shirt (too tired to fully put on pj’s) and where it the next day. I don’t flush toilets, ‘specially in the middle of the night. just go, then go…back to bed. I don’t iron, and I don’t really care. Rain waters my yard. and you’re right, weeds are sturdy, AND green! yep, I just don’t know where people get the time to flush, iron, water, ferilize, or wash their car. When do they have time to read? play? dance?

Conny December 1, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Thumbs up here! Hee, hee. All of the above! The Accidental Environmentalist – it has a nice ring to it.

@ the Bag Lady – it’s so nice to see (hear) you here. I hope you found your way here by way of my blog. If not, I’m glad you found it on your own because I really enjoy reading this one, and thought you might too.

alice December 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm

I am with you on just about all of them.

I water the garden some — we get as little as 1/2 an inch a month in summer and I have a well that works best if I run more than the one tomato sprinkler (sometimes I wonder if the shallow yard well sprinkles terrible things from other yard’s runoff but…) and I definitely use the iron for sewing and quilting, but for clothes — I think NOT.

Kim Hines December 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Am so glad to find out that I am not the only one!Feel much better!!!

Cori December 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I could have written this post myself!! Cracked me up, thanks!

Patty December 1, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Love you! LOL!

Kate December 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I love this! I’d call myself a Haphazard Environmentalist (sorry – shamelessly plugging my here). Our “lawn” consists of the yard, or The Dandelion Farm as I like to call it, four pastures and a wooded area. Living the rainy PNW and the goats are all the lawn care we need. And I washed my truck one time and it looked really weird.

Our land backs up to BLM property so I have a moral obligation to keep things as natural as possible, right?

(And “stultifyingly slothful” is lovely alliteration, by the way.)

the Bag Lady December 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Hi, Conny! *waving frantically*
This is a great blog, thanks!
oh… err…. sorry, Tomato Lady…. didn’t mean to hijack your comment section.
*whispering* “See you later, Conny – thanks!”

Kelly December 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Wow. That’s quite a list there. I’m familiar with most of those (although I am a hibitual flusher…).
I, too, drive a tan car. I find that not washing it simply allows the color to, um… deepen to a darker (yet still almost lovely) shade of tan.
And yes, I wear most of my clothes (unmentionables not included) multiple times between washes. I mean, seriously. If it’s not completely covered in kid-debris or so smelly it can walk itself to the washer, what’s the point?
Oh, and my lawn is mostly made of weeds too. I have asked this question before, and I will ask it again: Who on Earth decided that dandelions are bad? I love to look out upon my lush green (as you mentioned, weeds are quite a hearty bunch) lawn and count the sweet dots of yellow.

Naomi December 1, 2009 at 9:57 pm

You. Rock! And all you others of the same ilk. I needed a good laugh today!

Handcrafter December 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm

A big DITTO here.

I don’t wash anything that doesn’t really need it, including the children.

The iron is for sewing and knitting only.

I believe that people decided what were to be called weeds and what were to be flowers by how hard it was to keep alive: if it was delicate and died easily, it would be a flower (or grass), if it is hardy and easy to care for, it would be a weed.

I almost always wear PJs, and have two pair of jeans that I only put on if I leave the house: an old grungy pair for yardwork (though I have been known to weed in my Superman PJs) and a “nicer” pair for church, shopping, taking the girls to dance class. The nicer pair sometimes goes for a couple of weeks without washing since they are only worn for an hour or two at a time, and then only for “clean” activities.

When I was little, my oldest sister told me, “Boring women live in immaculate houses.” I now believe this applies to cars and yards, also. Therefore, having an immaculate house (car, yard) has never been an ambition of mine.

Tomato Lady December 2, 2009 at 1:52 am

I’ll be switched. You all are as bad as me! Thank you for not fleeing in disgust at my seamy underbelly and for bathing me with such empathetic and entertaining stories. (It may be the only good wash I get today.)
I love you guys! You are amazing.

planetAnge December 2, 2009 at 3:18 am

Oh TL, how hilarious!
Your tentative confession has triggered a mass coming-out of the (water!) closet!
Maybe it’s a gene we all share!! lol
Hi TL, Ivory and you other wonderful individuals,
the moment I discovered this blog was like snuggling into my favourite armchair… or getting a warm hug; it instantly felt like being in a cosy room with an eclectic yet like-minded clutch of .. well, friends!
Even in my little flat in Melbourne Australia, with my balcony full of vegies, I Love, Love, LOVE it!
Oh PS. One exception, I NEVER sleep in clothes. Of ANY description. Ever. Euww.

Sallie December 2, 2009 at 5:37 am

My partner in life has never seen me in anything but flannel jammies at home! If I washed my vehicle it may fall apart! Why would someone iron with the door stop? Those are not weeds in my yard, that’s a wild flower garden, very British… I also do not dust! I figure since Mother Nature put that dust there, who am I to mess with Mother Nature! 🙂

Laura December 2, 2009 at 5:45 am

I was surprised by all the comments that agree and just had to add that I am too a lazy environmentalist altho I have to admit-I love to iron just don’t have time to do it like I would like to. Course the board has to stay somewhat available for sewing and crafts. Agree with your list wholeheartily. Also instead of TP for “smaller” jobs I use little rags. Is it any different than washing underwear? Just think how much we are saving the earth! If only more people would get on the band wagon.

karen December 2, 2009 at 8:49 am

OMG I am laughing my ass off!!! (No need for computer abbreviation here.)
I thought I was the only one.

To add to the oh-so-eloquently put points above….

-I don’t wash my hair every day – saves water and soap
-I wear my house clothes for the whole week and have two sets of clothes that I alternate every other day when I go out. (people are also too busy to notice I wore the same one two days ago)
-I only buy no-ironing necessary clothes except for my stuffy hubby who needs his clothes ironed (argh~)
-lawn? what lawn?
-my car is black but I don’t wash it and I’m proud of the whitish dust that decorates the panels. It adds character.

But in addition to being lazy, I am cheap.
-I reuse everything and not buy anything new.
-I use vinegar and baking soda because they are so much cheaper than designer (even the all natural) cleansers
-I use olive oil for cleansing my face and as moisturizer
-I add vinegar and baking soda to laundry as fabric softener and whitener

I can go on….

Thanks for making me laugh. 🙂

CarrieK December 2, 2009 at 10:16 am

Thank you for starting my day off with a smile! But now you’ve done it…you’ve gone and made my slothful ways more acceptable. Sloths unite!!! 🙂

Vickey December 2, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I’m just here to tell you that it IS possible to carry the no bathing or infrequent bathing too far… I have 2 or 3 customers come in where I work, and believe you me, B.O that funky should not be allowed in public, if you are in a business situation…. When I have to breathe through my mouth to avoid the smell, and can nearly taste the smell it’s so rank…. TOO FAR!!

jamie December 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm

For me, it’s dried yogurt, but I understand your point completely. I need to change garments everyday to keep from being bored with wearing the same colors all the time. I’ve gotten down to 1-2 showers per week, thanks to my 2 year old and absolutely no time left in my life. I’m happy to be saving water!

Amy Sirk December 3, 2009 at 12:21 pm

LOL!! You are a gal after my own heart. I don’t wash my car either. I blame this habit on my life in Southern California during that long, 10 year drought. My neighbors are appalled at the condition of my lawn. I view winter as a 4 month break from mowing. As for flushing…there’s an old hippie phrase “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. if it’s brown, flush it down”. Works for me.

jan December 6, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Oh I love reading all this! So nice to know I am not some sort of freak out there all alone. I grew up with a very frugal grandmother and we all practice her lessons. As far as washing the car, thought that was what the rain was for. I once got pulled over by a patrolman for driving a wee bit too fast. As he was writing the ticket, he asked me what color my car was. I proudly said “county rd. 232 dust”. He was not amused.
We don’t sleep in our clothes, since I have winter thermostat set at 57 at night, everyone wants to sleep in their thermal underwear or heavy flannel pj’s. We do hang up or fold clothing to be worn another day though. Its fun thinking of other ways to save a little.

Jen January 20, 2010 at 8:09 am

I just stumbled upon your blog and I love it! This sounds so much like my household. I tried to keep my car washed at one point, but what is the point when you have to drive over gravel or dirt right after?

Victoria November 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Good advice. I just want to add that, if your kids don’t share your vision and think everything has to be washed after the first wearing, it’s easy to fool them by folding their clothes and putting them back into the drawer from the floor….lazy and green!

Victoria November 6, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I’ve washed every car I’ve owned … once. 4 carwashes in 30 years of driving!

I Arlyin February 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm

You know I never knew there was anyone like me. I just assumed that I was partially crazy. I wear the same clothes 4 days out of each week. During the summer I take my baths in the creek. I flush the toilet only if I’ve did no# 2. I buy groceries 1 time a month. I reuse everything. Plastic bottles, become planters. Card board,becomes mulch . Green glass bottles, become vases, yard decorations { I have a cedar tree that I’ve cut off most of the branches till they are 6 inches long and I stick green bottles onto the branches.} I like the way they look. I cook one big pot of stew and eat that till it is gone. If it’s above 40 I don’t use heat.

Elaina Judge March 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I love this website. I too have become green quite by accident. I was actually looking into ways that can save the family some money. I am home with the kids so I have the time to make my “own” stuff. After reading what is in commercial brand soaps and such I have really turned a corner in my life. I had no idea there are so many chemicals in some many everyday products. It’s scarey! Thank you for doing this blog, and please keep on sharing!

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