Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Thin Green Line Redux

My last posting brought about several emails (only two readers and the Prime Geek decided to post comments, I suppose it was a topic people found a tad disconcerting to discuss on the open section of the site) as well as quite a bit of conversation from friends and family. There seem to be two distinct camps vying for Universal implementation… and, as I’m awake at 4 in the morning I figured I would think this through out loud here… as opposed to waiting for my cats to wade in on the issue.

Those supporting the idea of giving up toilet paper forever seem to accept the odd looks and horrified comments with ease and √©lan. They know they are on the outside of this issue, and frankly… they don’t care. A few born again cloth wipers get fervent about the horrors of Charmin on the environment… but for the most part the pro camp seems pretty calm over the whole issue. They believe they are right… and are willing to stand there calmly until you agree with them.

The con camp? Reactions ranging from mild hilarity to near hysteria have been encountered. The majority rule (unlike the PG’s mostly calm breakdown of his view of the subject in the comments) tends to an instinctive refusal. No questions, no desire for reasons, a simple Uh-Uh. No way. Not gonna happen, gross.

My previous post wasn’t really a rebuttal argument in the toilet arena (or would that be bowl?), but more an query as to what other lines have people found in their day to day life. Is it enough to try and start living greener… or do we have to give up all our habits and attitudes today and be completely green? It’s a question I have come up against more and more as I write this blog. Are we allowed to make the adjustments we can accept gradually? Or do we have to give up everything in our lives at once. Guilt, confusion, and ultimately a resigned “What does it matter, if everyone doesn’t do it we’re screwed anyway” attitude seems to permeate our society today. I suppose that’s why I tend to approach this matter (and pretty much every other matter in my life) with whatever humor I can toss at it. If I can give people a giggle, it makes slipping the message in a wee bit easier. Getting the odd pie in the face keeps me from being preachy… an attitude destined to fail.

Now. For my REAL rebuttal of the toilet paper business. While it might work in some homes, it simply doesn’t work in mine. Jokes and disgust aside, I really can’t see it as a feasible option in the natural nerd nest… and frankly wonder how manageable it is in a lot of homes. Hear me out - at the moment there are only two bipeds wandering around this house. All other entities eschew paper for the convenience of sand between their toes. Two adults means I only do laundry once a week. Having cloths with… matter on them hanging around for a week is a recipe for disaster. (Let’s face it, our cats drag the Prime Geeks dirty boxers around the house and sleep with them until we locate and confiscate them. What they would do with THESE cloths makes me gag to consider.) The way I do our laundry also make the whole affair untenable. After experimentation with adding borax and washing soda to my laundry detergent… I only use cold water these days. The hot water tank in our house is for bathing and washing dishes only. Cold water simply would not sanitize fabric wipes sufficiently, OR allow them to be free from vestige reminders of the use they have been put to. (Delicate enough for ya?) The water from our washer runs out of a tube from the laundry sink into a drain on the floor… which means at the end of the spin cycle cold water comes flashing out into the realm of our cats. Soapy water might upset their stomachs if they insist on drinking it or playing in the tiny puddle… but bleach in the water would kill. So no bleach or other harsh chemicals can be added… and so again, remnants would remain.

Another issue is simply the fact that the Prime Geek and I travel quite a bit. As dedicated medievalists, we go period camping and tend to roam the countryside looking for something to hit with a foam covered sword. In these instances, we take quick dissolving tp with us (always a fun little beat the clock game…) as while a bear might just shat in the woods, I refuse to use random leaves when I do. (After having to make the call over which was the way to go – privacy and dry straw or open field and nice broad leaves, I always carry my own. I doubt I can ever look that farmer in the eye again….)

I try to be as mindful of the environment as I can be- a good deal of my getting around these days is foot power – but I can’t see myself carrying used wipes about town with me. And yes, from that you can infer that I carry tp pretty much wherever I go. Why? Probably the simplest reason I won’t be switching from paper.

I have ulcerated colitis and IBS.

‘Nuff said.


kethry said...

I'm with you on this one (the toilet paper debate). I did suggest to the OH that we do it, but he looked at me in utter horror. That was definetly HIS thin green line!! Secretly i think i was a bit glad - like you, i suffer from IBS so its not an appealing thing to have to do.

I have tried to get rid of other "disposable" things though. those wipes you can buy for bathroom and kitchen, i don't use, i try not to use even kitchen roll (i have some in the cupboard but i use it *only* when there's nothing else that will do, such as drying flowers in the microwave). dishwashing sponges, rags to wipe with - all those get washed in the machine. Something i'm moving towards, have been meaning to do for a while is reuseable, washable period pads. I do sew, but being flat broke, its a case of affording the materials and at the moment, it comes down fairly low on the list of things to buy as i've been setting up the garden this year.

My own personal thin green line? hmmm. getting rid of the computers, TV, and all electrical equipment we don't strictly *need*. i love my puter. i need my puter. yes i know it eats energy and is bad for the environment, but lets face it. Just being alive is bad for the environment (and so is being dead!). I'm very much of the moving towards changes slowly variety. I've tried making changes fast. they don't stick. they're too much work. slow and easy is the way. :)

p.s. i like the skirt. I'll be making one. at some point anyway!!

ThePrimeGeek said...

Ya don't have to get rid of your 'puter. I'd go absolute bat shit crazy without at least one. There's currently 3, soon to be 5, in various states of repair and functionality in my office.

You can conserve energy in other was to make up for your little indulgences here and there. And that's just a temporary. They finally announced commercialization of uber-cheap solar panels yesterday, with a target public release date of late 2008. I'm talking $1-2 a watt here. That translates to complete home solar generation for under $5000, as opposed to $35,000 at today's prices. And that's for a big system. Smaller/more conservation-oriented homes could easily halve that. Five grand may seem like a lot, but you'll recover that investment in under 5 years, and there's tons of .gov programs and incentives to defray that cost.

kethry said...

with you on the going batshit crazy without computers.. so's my OH. you say you have 3-5 around the place.. we have 2 that are online permanently, a couple of lappys, and a few others in various states of disrepair that get cannibalised every so often!!! (i think he'd have more but we ran out of space. Freecycle rocks!!)

Unfortunately we don't own our own home (its rented from a housing association, a not-for-profit organisation) and its a groundfloor flat, so both limit what we can do with regard to things like solar panels. Slowly trying to do what i can around the place, to be greener, i mean. However, i'm not about to give up the computers. its just where my own thin green line is!!!