November 25, 2011

Green at Going Green. ~ Lauren Baity


Trying to be a better person is hard to do.

The economy is bad.

No one knows this better than the recent college grads languishing at Banana Republic and Starbucks, their degrees a cute decoration hanging from the wall. That’s why when an internship opened at elephant journal I leapt at the chance. I graduated in August and began job hunting, but my search only produced a few mortifying interviews and a withering sense of dejection.

When the opportunity to write for an online publication came up, I couldn’t believe my luck. I was so happy that I didn’t think about the implications of writing for a green magazine. Now I love good old mother Gaia as much as the next person, but I eat meat, usually vote Republican and have a habit of killing house plants. I was fairly sure plant-killer would not be a good thing to advertise during my interview.

When the interview rolled around editor-in-chief Waylon asked about my mode of transportation. The internship office is about 30 minutes from where I live, so we discussed my options.

“You could take the bus and bike,” he said. I nodded vehemently. I have a habit of sabotaging myself in interviews and was determined not to blow this one.

“Or you could drive,” Waylon said in a tone which suggested this would be akin to gorging myself on a buffet of endangered animals. Mmmm delicious, delicious panda.


“You wouldn’t judge me if I drove?” I asked with a laugh.
“I would a little bit,” he replied without a trace of irony.

The  tidbit that sent me into a full-blown panic was the revelation that the free yoga classes I’d heard about would be done together, as a staff. I enjoy yoga, but it had been a while, and I’ve had some legitimately awkward yoga encounters (read here). I once ended up with my head stuck between a guy’s legs. I’ve been told that I was splashing people with my pelvic energy, and I typically receive more than my fair share of adjustments.

If I’m going to make a fool of myself, I’d prefer to do so in front of complete strangers, not complete strangers I will then have to try and work with afterwards. I imagined the staff, dressed in their Lululemon and Patagonia yoga gear, doing some kind of strange, inverted contortions, while I wobbled around, a menace to the mats immediately adjacent.

Oh God, I started thinking to myself,  how militant are these people? Are they going to judge me because I drive? Maybe I could park a few blocks away and pretend that I took the bus. Is my yoga mat environmentally friendly? What about my clothes? Do I need to get new clothes? Oh my God will I have to use green tampons? I open the box and it’s just a bunch of leaves. No, they can’t possible know that…I think. No. Probably not. Can I eat meat in front of them? Because if I have to eat a salad two times a week I will quit right now I can tell you that.

Fear is a funny thing. It holds us back from what we really want to be doing by making us imagine the worst about ourselves and other people.

Just to be clear: the yoga class was great, not at all full of yoga superstars, but just people doing their best. The interns are all lovely people, and most of them own cars. And while our once a week luncheon is vegetarian, it’s at a sushi place so there’s still plenty to eat.

I’m now in the process of greening myself, and it’s certainly a process. I tried to ride my bike to my part-time job and one of the pedals fell off mid-ride. This is what I get for trying to be a good person I grumbled while backtracking to search for my errant pedal.  Clearly it’s time for a new bike.

I’m more conscious of unplugging electronics when I’m done. I’m more aware of environmentally sound brands, and when I actually have some money, plan to invest in some green gear.

I still have no desire to grow dreadlocks, and have vague suspicions about hemp. Do you wear it or smoke it? Or both? I’m not sure.  I consider bacon a food group, one especially good slathered in chocolate.

But I’m growing greener, slowly perhaps, but growth is a process. Now if that green will extend down to my thumb maybe I can keep my plants alive.

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