Walking around the fair today, I was repeatedly reminded of my eco-conscience.
I drank bottled water and wished I had thought to bring my reusable stainless steel bottle. I didn’t want to use the plastic, but it was hot and I was thirsty. Plus I’m still trying to skip HFCS (that’s another story), so I didn’t want to get a soda in a paper cup. I was happy at least that recycling was easy.
I spotted all the litter on the ground and wanted to pick it up (but of course I didn’t). I wondered how much litter and trash would be generated by the end of the fair and where it would go.
I watched the tractor pull and thought about carbon emissions. I thought about how much energy went into pulling that sled of weights back and forth. But I was still proud of my brother for pulling about 8,000lbs with his tractor.
I pondered, while skipping the line to the ladies’ room and heading to the portapotty, which is better for the environment? The portapotty uses less water but more chemicals, so I couldn’t decide which was better, but there wasn’t a line there. I worried about creating a super-bug as I used the hand sanitizer, but didn’t want to skip it either.
I browsed through dresses at a vendor’s tent and commented that they’re probably made in sweatshops. How else could they be so cheap?
I watched the horse pull and felt bad for the jumpy horses, getting yelled at and slapped on the butt. My dad has always said that competitive pulling is cruel to the horses and I would tend to agree, but I still like to watch for a little while and check out the pretty animals.
I saw a lot of parents smoking around their kids and wondered what they were thinking. It’s not BPA people, it’s not debatable or new science. Cigarettes kill.
I looked at agricultural exhibits, animals, food preservation, crafts, photography, and the baking competition. This glimpse of a simpler way of life was juxtaposed with the midway’s spinning rides and shouting carnies. I wish the midway wasn’t there, but felt a sadness knowing that most people wouldn’t go if there weren’t rides and cheap prizes to win.
When I got home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could ever go back. Go back to the way things used to be, when I could enjoy an event without the stream of eco-consciousness running through the back of my mind. Although I didn’t make all of the best eco-choices while I was there, I was keenly aware of what I was choosing to do: throw out paper plates and napkins, recycle water bottles, and take breaths of second-hand smoke simply because I couldn’t get away from it.
I realize of course that I can never go back. I can never un-learn what I know about the environment and how my everyday actions impact the earth. With that knowledge comes a responsibility to act, to make good choices. And I feel like I do make good choices most of the time, but I need to accept that I can’t choose the best option all of the time and I can’t be so hard on myself, or on others.