The Green-Eyed Monster

No one ever said that attempting to live an eco friendly lifestyle makes you a better person. It doesn’t give you super powers. (Too bad; I’d love to be able to freeze time!) And it doesn’t make you rich (at least for most of us).

So why do people treat you differently when they find out?

Recently I was invited to go in on a holiday gift; however, when I found out that the suggested gift was an extremely frivolous luxury item created in another country, I could not participate. I politely explained that I try very hard to buy only locally produced environmentally friendly gifts that perform multiple functions. If that isn’t possible, I try to purchase event tickets or memberships that help support local organizations like Growing Home, the Green City Market, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or the Lyric Opera. Considering the state of the economy, most organizations are feeling the crunch without the corporate sponsorships of previous years. If we are spending money anway, why not support non-profits?

This explanation was met with a very blank look, as if I didn’t say anything at all. Even though I tried very hard not to back pedal or apologize for my convictions, I sounded as if I was making judgments when I shed light on my reasons. “I try hard not to focus on stuff, but on experiences…” which sounded like I insinuated that she preferred the former and I, the latter. Uh oh. “It’s my thing… not getting lots of stuff…” I stammered. She rolled her eyes as if I was trying to be difficult with my whole “green thing”.

Well, I guess it isn’t always so easy being green for me, or for others around me.

Along my journey I realized that there would be some people who would be supportive even if they were annoyed. And then there would be people who won’t deviate from the formula of their usual routine. I figure since my goal is not to make converts everywhere I go, I am okay with that.

In my opinion my bigggest impact can come from practicing what I preach. I understand that doesn’t make me better than anyone else, so the best I can do is share what I truly believe and let others make their own decisions.

I tell my kids all the time that it is okay to be different because we are all basically the same. I have to walk the talk. For me. For them. For us.

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. You can follow Jen’s journey going green and raising a family as The Eco Chic Organizer.

4 Responses to The Green-Eyed Monster
  1. Mimi
    December 9, 2008 | 7:12 am

    I had the same problem with work… I suggested we do a hobbit exchange instead (gently used stuff that you like but think someone else may need more) and was looked at like a cook. Now I have to spend $20 on crap… *sigh*

  2. Jennifer (The Eco Chic Organizer)
    December 9, 2008 | 10:04 am

    what about buying a reusable bottle like SIGG? Still use your $$ wisely & don’t fall into the cheap, plastic trap!

    I see that with kids all the time. They say “they are little… just get something some cheap stuff at the pharmacy…” WHY? Wastes money & doesn’t help the kids at all!

  3. Kerri Anne (
    December 9, 2008 | 2:48 pm

    I will hereby swear my love to SIGG water bottles. My husband and I both use one, and when we realized how much money we were spending on bottled water, and how much plastic we were using and then tossing, it was incredibly humbling. Now we only use our SIGGS and they are perfect, nearly unbreakable and easy to clean!

  4. Diana
    December 9, 2008 | 9:52 pm

    My sister is a teacher who receives presents from her kids every year. I told her I gave my kids teachers pencils. She suggested markers for the marker boards, also. Another teacher I know said, give her something she can eat or use up. She likes to decorate her home her own way, but if you give her cookies she can share, or hot chocolate – but not mugs. Candles she can use. I’m sure tickets to something special would have been great too, since you can use them up.
    One year for my mother’s retirement party in the summer, my sisters and I gathered things we had that were brand new in our cabinets and closets that would make a nice doorprize and we gave each one of the guests a door prize. The funniest part was that a mug, which had a plant in it went to someone who said they had the pattern and could she please win it. So we rigged it and made it really obvious and funny. It worked for us.