Have you ever noticed how damned hard it is to do the right thing anymore? We were told to start drinking more water, so we all ditched soda and began buying bottled water. Now we're being carped at about how gullible we are for spending money on water, of all things, and worse, for overloading the landfills with more needless plastic containers. Then, we find out that--horrors to end all horrors--the reusable bottles we opted for to save the environment are made out of Bisphenol A and phthalates, which are detrimental to our health and may linger in our bodies far longer than first thought. Holy crap. What the hell are we supposed to do? I guess just dehydrate or get hammered on wine, which, depending upon the studies, may or may not be good for us.
We're all trying so hard not to add to the general clutter of our planet and our lives. The mantra for the last ten years seems to be Simplify, Simplify. I like the concept. I really do. I used to get two newspapers a day. I subscribed to four magazines: Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Bon Appetit. Then I realized something: when each one came, I sat down immediately and read it, cover to cover. Then it sat on the coffee table where it used to get knocked off by someone (Jared or Sam) propping his feet up or a rambunctious cat event, or used as a coaster. I had to keep moving it to dust or look for something. Eventually, I'd recycle it, then wait for the new one. And I hated Magazine Gleaning--you know, the time you take to first rip out all the stupid subscription cards, overpowering perfume samples, and freefalling ad cards that inhibit your reading enjoyment. Finally, I stopped renewing, and I don't miss any of them. I read lots of interesting stuff online. Where there are no annoying cards, no smelly perfumes, and I feel like I'm being environmentally-conscious as well.
But...yikes. Have you seen this? I feel really guilty! So many magazines are folding. So many people out of work! Crap.
Now, the newspaper thing is a little different. I am down to one newspaper a day for an entirely different reason. I stopped our local paper because I just could not tolerate A) the poor level of writing; B) the obvious bias against our high school; C) the delivery person's stubborn refusal to stop tracking through our landscaping. Okay. But my wonderful remaining newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is having its problems as well. Layoffs! Job cuts! The publisher that owns it and other newspapers sees a grim future. People are getting their news online, no doubt about it. And...that is keeping lots of paper out of the waste stream. And the demand for recyclable material in this economy is down anyway. See what I mean? I'm being green and environmentally responsible! Yet I might be hurting the U.S. economy as well!
I think this is, perhaps, an example of a Catch-22.
So, my question is: Am I part of the solution or part of the problem?