Thursday, July 12, 2007

So green you could puke?

Emily Bazelon's Slate essay Is our family annoying because we own a Prius? is mostly a humor piece, but it raises an interesting issue: by instilling green habits in our children and explaining the very real reasons behind why we reduce, reuse and recycle, are we in danger of creating children as irritatingly self-righteous as those raised in ultra-religious or--G-d forbid--racist households?

No one wants to hear a lecture from a kid on a high horse, be it on how he is headed for an eternity of hellfire because he hasn't accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior or how we're headed for a hellish future on an overheated planet because she drinks bottled water shipped in from Fiji and doesn't even recycle the containers.

So far I haven't managed to mold my 2-year-old into an eco-snob. She knows where we put our recyclables, but turning on the lights and the water at the tap is simply too much fun. And while I've read about the Bisphenol-A in clear plastic baby bottles, when the time comes, I feel it is just as eco-conscious to reuse Z's old Avent bottles than invest in fresh mess of Born Free or glass baby bottles.

Which makes me wonder, does feeding your baby from a Born Free bottle or dressing her in an organic, unbleached bamboo onesie have the same badge appeal driving a Prius? It certainly advertises your eco-mama mindset better than hand-me-downs. But the second-hand goods leave a much smaller environmental footprint.