Things I am currently feeling guilty about:
- The amount of fuel required to transport Chilean-grown blueberries to Los Angeles.
- I don’t carry a re-usable bag to the supermarket.
- I drive an SUV.
- I like driving an SUV.
- There are at least thirty appliances in my house that are plugged in at all times.
- I think I accidentally threw some old batteries in the trash last week.
- The world of my grandchildren will be ungodly hot, semi-submerged and polar bear-free because I can not sleep in a room that isn’t air-conditioned.
I could go on, but I think my problem is pretty clear; I have eco-anxiety. In case you haven’t heard of it, Eco-Anxiety is the new, trendy neurosis that’s striking urban liberals at an alarming pace. I first noticed the symptoms last year, after I watched An Inconvenient Truth. I found myself fervently recycling, trading incandescent lightbulbs for CFLs, and shopping at farmer’s markets on a regular basis. But the more I’ve learned about going green, the more anxious I’ve become. Because the inconvenient truth is, it’s not easy to be a hold down a job, raise two kids, run a household, get dinner on the table, schlep to a million after school activities, remember to R.S.V.P. to birthday parties and also maintain a composting pile.
Of course, the composting pile is the least of my problems. What I really meant to say is, it’s not easy to completely change my lifestyle and all of my habits in order to make the world just a little bit greener. I mean, just a few short years ago, the only things I felt guilty about were missing bath time because I had to work late, or taking a weekend getaway without my kids. But now, I feel guilty for just about everything. Forget lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. The new deadly sins are using clothes dryers, taking long showers, running the air conditioner, driving an SUV, buying imported foods, eating red meat and putting snacks in plastic baggies.
I have to say, though, I’ve been pretty good about fixing the error of my ways. I can live with line drying my clothes. I can sleep with the windows open. I can eat turkey burgers instead of hamburgers. But everyone has their weakness, and mine, like many sinful Americans’, is the sport utility vehicle. For three incredible years, I have driven my luxury SUV with nothing less than pure love. The huge trunk. The optional third row. The rush of knowing that I could flatten a wayward Fiat like a bug. But now, it seems that my moment of inconvenient truth is about to arrive, because, God help me, my lease is up.
Put aside, for the moment, the astronomical price of gasoline, and just assume that my entire world exists within a five mile radius of my house, and that a tank of gas lasts me, on average, about two and a half weeks, thus greatly reducing the “pain at the pump” of a typical SUV driver. Now, that said, I know that I should, in good conscience, get a Prius for my next car. But they’re small. And they’re totally impractical for driving carpool. And let’s get right down to it, they’re kind of ugly. You see, as embarrassed as I am to admit it, what I really want is another big, beautiful, gas guzzling, oil dependent SUV. I know it’s wrong. I know that if I get one, I will rot in an eternal, damning, globally-warmed hell. But the pull is just so…so gravitational. But no, I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I am going to get a hybrid SUV. Even though the mileage isn’t much better than a regular SUV. Even though there isn’t one that makes my heart sing the way it does for the evil car I have now. Even though in doing so, I will be trading one sin for another - I will lust for what I once had, and I will covet those that belong to others. But at least I won’t feel guilty.