Lauren Singer is the most ecologically conscientious person I have ever read about. She tells New York magazine's Daily Intel that all the trash she's produced in the past two years fits in one 16-ounce Mason jar. She carries her garbage glass around with her everywhere, just in case she needs to dispose of something that cannot be recycled or composted. (Or not. See update below.)
Not too many years ago, the American economy was booming, and a population engorged with internet-stock money began moving to Berkeley, buying solar panels, and proclaiming that its consumer products needed to be "green," for the sake of saving the earth. "Money is no object!" proclaimed the typical American consumer, circa 2007. "My household cleaner must be 'green' certified, for what price is too high to pay to save the earth, while cleaning? That is a silly, rhetorical question."
The New York Times—that arbiter of youth culture—reports on the "green" student houses springing up around the country, focusing on the one at Oberlin. (Voted as one of the top annoying liberal arts colleges by this very website!) "All year they studied together in the living room at night so they would not have to turn on lights in the other rooms. They mastered worm composting, lowered the thermostat — keeping it at 60 degrees for most of the winter ... and unplugged appliances." Aww! They're living like lil' pioneers. (Disclosure: during college, I lived in a house exactly like this, featuring huge rows over wasting bread and the evils of commercial cleaning products. To this day, I clean with vinegar out of fear.) The Obies, as they're called, have a very special way of making sure each other's showers are kept quick and dirty:
It was self-righteous and catered to the rich. But was the New York Times Magazine "Green Issue" green enough? Not according to anyone who actually cares about the future of this precious island we call Planet Earth. The magazine was printed on non-recycled paper. Egad! That means all those eco-friendly car ads were actually leaving a gigantic carbon footprint. Vanity Fair's annual green issues are also printed on non-recylced paper. It's like these magazines really just care about the advertising market for environmentalism instead of the actual environment. Let the Times Magazine Green Issue be a lesson: Never care about anything unless you're prepared to be called out as total a hypocrite. [Folio]