Baby, it’s hard being green

Sometimes, you just close your eyes.
Raised on “100 percent recycled” yellow slabs of paper, the kind specked with chunks of pulp that invariably caught my pencil tip, it’s hard to watch a roll of toilet paper sucked down the drain in one giant “whoosh.”
A Quilted Northern Double Roll, mind you, not that one-ply sandpaper on the “reduced because no one’s buying it” rack.
Worse is the hand-washing portion of the ordeal, the five or six good minutes spent with water spurting full blast out of the spigot.
With each of the taps turned until they won’t go anymore, we debate the merits of blue raspberry-scented soap from a container with a flashing hippo’s head on top or the good old-fashioned Bath and Body Works anti-bacterial I picked up on sale.
By breakfast, we move on to the internal struggles of an ’80s child raised to believe there are children starving in Ethiopia who has been forced to admit the perfectly good yogurt drink will be left on the table for the rest of the day when I’ll be forced to feed it to the bacteria gods at the bottom of my sink.
Comfort is there, at least, when she abandons the last bits of apple, the hand full of pretzels – they’ll go in the compost pile and live another day.
If I’m being overdramatic, forgive me.
I was one of those kids watching Tina Turner, Billy Joel, the Boss and Stevie Wonder tell me, we are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day . . .
OK, yes, it was hokie.
But it stuck.
Judging by the big bags of paper products at the edge of my dining room, just waiting to be carted off on recycling day, so did a lot of those demands on a generation to straighten up and fly right.
I turn the water off to brush my teeth. I open the curtains by day, turn just a light or two on by night.
I’m guilty, by all means, of using disposable diapers, but I have strict rules for “reusing” those extra bits of this and that.
I’m trying at least, but I’m realistic.
I’m a parent.
So the innocent request to “leave the hall light on . . . and the door open, just a little bit” when putting Jillian to bed is met with a sigh.
But remembering the years I spent with a clip-on light on my bunk, the black plastic ring brittle from too many nights when I fell asleep, a book still in my hand, I do it.
I leave the door ajar and flick the switch, comforted by the compact fluorescent bulb in the single hallway fixture.

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