GREEN GUILT

As you may know, The 14th Street Y is hosting an OPEN green HOUSE on Sunday, September 18th from 10:00-3:00.  As an organization, we are collectively passionate about caring for the community, neighborhood, city – and ultimately world in which we live. 

Long before the Y began gathering our resources to green our building, Membership Assistant Jane Hong was preaching the good word and walking the talk.  As we gear up for the event featuring music, green goods, food and fun, we asked Jane to share some of her favorite green thoughts.

As a JCC, we can’t help but love that it focuses a bit on guilt.  Enjoy!

-The 14th Street Y

 

The Y is going green! And on the road towards eco-friendliness, we may hit some bumps. It’s natural that even with the best intentions, we may not feel as though we’re doing enough.

I used to chase down every empty bottle and aluminum can in the building to recycle until I had to stop because the office was getting very cluttered and sticky. This forced me to wipe down my computer station with disinfectant wipes every morning and led to copious amounts of hand washing. All of which resulted in a lot of paper towel and water waste. That was my “Green Guilt” and it’s as normal as schadenfreude.

Danny Seo, a professional environmentalist, loves to upcycle everyday items. He turns old tea sets into a cupcake tray and the likes. Although he admits the glue he uses on these projects is the antithesis of non-toxic and eco-friendly, he can’t seem to find a better product to do the job.

Eric Corey Freed, founder of organicArchitect, based in San Francisco is obsessed with saving water. He wanted to install composting toilets in his home but his wife wouldn’t let him. Instead, he has low-flow toilets. Why is he so obsessed with saving water? Because he has a pool in his backyard.  

Bea Johnson is living an almost waste-free lifestyle. She shops for her family in bulk and farmers’ markets to avoid packaging, never gets junk mail and composts as much as she can. All so she can off-set her annual flights home to France.

Eco-conscious parents are torn by an inevitable decision: cloth or disposable diapers? But relief is in sight! There are plenty of hybrid diapers out there. Our own fitness coordinator, Adja Diarra, used gDiapers after her daughter was born. They are available with either a washable fleece or compostable liner. But she had to switch because her daughter outgrew them too fast. Now she uses Nature Babycare products.

It can feel very overwhelming and that progress is slow – the little act of recycling a bottle may seem worthless compared with glaciers receding at 17m per year. But we won’t get discouraged. Many little acts can amount to something larger. Keeping a local mindset, while thinking of your home and workplace as ecosystems that you are improving, is a good place to start and enough for right now.

Articles I love:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-ecofriendly-packaging-triggers-boom-in-guiltfr,2239/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/garden/30guilt.html?scp=1&sq=green%20guilt%20danny%20seo&st=cse

http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/

-Jane Hong is a Greening advocate, goddess of recycling, and incredibly valued Membership Assistant at the 14th Street Y

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