Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Conservative Conservation

One problem I have with conservation is that it almost has the word conservative in it. It is somewhat ironic that it's usually liberals and not conservatives who are concerned about conservation.

But not always. Nobody is better at this conservation thing than my mom is and she is one of the most conservative people I know. Because of my involuntary indoctrination on conservation while growing up, I have residual rebellion about it. My mom is naturally all about reduce, reuse, and recycle. For her, a dedication to saving the environment was only a byproduct of the necessity part. We were responsible for our own garbage. All of it. There was no big lumbering garbage truck coming down the road to take away our garbage in neat plastic bags to deposit in someone else's backyard. We had to either compost, burn, or recycle every last piece of garbage we generated. They still do, in fact. My mom collects all her recycling in bins in the garage and a few times a year she takes it to Pocatello more than 50 miles away.

But when I was young I interpreted her nearly religious dedication to conservation as meaning we couldn't afford things. I really wanted to throw things away and get new stuff rather than cleaning it or fixing it or making do. It seemed to be all about money and to me being wasteful equated to being rich. Having shiny new stuff meant you were one of the elite.

Now I think a lot about conservation and how to do it. I have to be careful to not make it about money in my mind. Once it becomes about saving money instead of saving the world I feel that old rebellion creeping in. I don't like to say, "I can't afford that." I don't even like to think it. As trite as it sometimes seems, I prefer to think of conservation in terms of lessening my impact, reducing my footprint, contributing less to the tragedy of the commons. And guess what. I save some money too. I'll try not to think about that part.

For anyone keeping score, yesterday I gave away an eye mask and today a pair of jeans.


Anonymous said...

Your mom is awesome. Have you given her the link to this blog yet? --ALS

Olivia said...

My mom IS awesome, but she is also a bit of a technophobe and wouldn't get within shooting range of a computer. So, no. I really doubt she has seen this blog. My dad may have the ability to look, but I figure I'll just let sleeping dogs lie. And no, my dad is not a dog in this scenario.

DeLaina said...

I'd like to see a list of things you've given away added to your sidebar...you know, just to keep you honest and all. LOL.

Laura said...

Hey, that's a great idea Delaina! Where's the update on your journey, it's been a few days. Hope all is well.

lisa-marie said...