Monday, April 8, 2013

Fighting for the Environment

Like many couples, my husband Ted and I cycle through the same arguments on a semi-regular basis. Once a month we bicker about the state of chaos in the children’s bedrooms. At least twice a week, we squabble over whose turn it is to wake up with the perpetually early-riser. And without fail, we disagree biweekly about our moral duties towards the environment.
 For example, my purchase of a SodaStream soda maker resulted in an initial ten-minute row that continued for eight weeks. Apparently, Ted just couldn’t seem to understand the importance of bottle reusage. At first he would openly mourn for the old cases of Crystal Geyser: “It just doesn’t taste the same. I miss the lime flavor.” Even when I offered to keep a steady supply of citrus on hand, he still moaned about the ugliness of the carbonating vessel. We have been drinking this environmentally-friendly soda water since August and he still refuses to learn how to operate the push-button fountain.
Our environmental disputes typically involve garbage in one way or another. On the rare occasions that I cook dinner, I usually make a big salad- it’s my no-brainer culinary staple. As anyone who has every chopped vegetables knows, salads produce a great quantity of leftover food waste – far too much for the half-gallon stainless steel compost pail that I keep beneath the kitchen sink. And, God forbid I would even think of putting this waste in the black landfill bin (my neighbors would think that we are monsters that use aerosol spray cans as toddler toys). Therefore, I use a brown paper grocery bag to collect the remnants. Unfortunately, this bag rarely makes a timely exit to the green compost bin in the garage. After a day or so of it left decomposing on the granite countertop, Ted simply throws it in the garbage. He just doesn’t get my foresight – I was planning on “cooking” another meal sometime relatively soon.
Our most common ongoing debate involves recycling. In spite of all my coaching, which Ted reads as lecturing, he refuses to recycle. I find plastic bottles, paper-towel rolls and kids’ artwork in the garbage almost daily. Consequently, I have begun teaching the children a new game called “Sort Daddy’s Trash.” The girls and I are constantly picking recyclable items out of the black landfill bin and depositing them in their proper resting place. I am even teaching them to master the heavy sigh while doing so. “It’s for effect,” I explain. He doesn’t find it amusing.
It’s really not that my husband is some kind of ogre who tosses garbage out his car window; he does drive a hybrid, after all. He is, however, just plain lazy. I wish that there were a more eloquent way to describe this behavior, but I’m calling this spade a spade. I know that Ted believes in global warming and the dangers of climate change. He just doesn’t believe that composting his take-out container is going to make a significant difference.
That said, he does support the environment through his wallet. He would happily purchase carbon offsets to compensate for all of his green transgressions – a few years back he bought me a TerraPass for Valentine’s Day. Still, I would like to convince him to turn off the water while brushing his teeth.