Caring about the environment is patriotic.
September 3rd, 2009
A reader raised an important point in response to my HuffPost Eco Etiquette column this week, in which I share my favorite natural home cleaning products (the “holy trinity”): distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and Dr. Bronner’s.
The frustrating thing about trying to lead a green life is that there are no easy choices. I spend a lot of my days just trying to weigh which is the lesser of two evils, and I’m sure you do, too: Should you drive to the farmers market that’s 10 miles away or bike/walk to your local grocery store? Wash dishes by hand or wait to run a full dishwasher? Keep your old relatively fuel-efficient car or shell out for a new Prius that you have to drive for 46,000 miles before you realize its environmental benefits?
Of course, distilled white vinegar isn’t completely free and green. Normal DWV is probably made from GMO corn, although the Heinz brand does make its vinegar completely from grains. (Some people think that some of the cheaper brands may use petroleum as a starter.)
If you’re determined to completely eliminate GMO products from your life, good luck: You’d probably have to eliminate half of your wardrobe, since cotton is one of the largest GMO crops. You can buy organic white vinegar, although this is considerably more expensive.
Here’s why I’m sticking with DWV (which I think in this case, is the lesser evil): Unlike most cleaning products, it won’t pollute our waterways, isn’t carcinogenic, and I can buy it in bulk, which means I use less petroleum-based packaging than if I bought several bottles of other commercial eco-friendly cleaners.
I think we greenies need to stop obsessing over the minutiae, make the best decisions we can on a daily basis, and focus on the big picture issues. If we really want to make a difference when it comes to GMO, then legislation — not random boycotts of gallon jugs of distilled white vinegar — is what’s really going to make a difference.
Do this now: If fighting GMO is your passion, volunteer for an organization that is working to enact anti-GMO legislation, like Greenpeace.