Maybe Kermit got it right after all.
It seems like everything has gone green these days (and mostly for good reasons, I’d argue), but sometimes it’s a tough choice between indulging your inner (or outer) geek and staying earth-friendly. Although Weird Al does a great job of being “White & Nerdy,” who’s gonna teach us all how to be Green & Geeky?
Sure, a lot of green tech is actually pretty geeky in itself. Hybrid cars, the Tesla roadster, and some of the other alternative-fuel vehicles can seem straight out of science fiction. And certainly it’s better to have an all-in-one phone/PDA/camera/MP3 player than three or more separate devices. A recent report estimates that a Kindle is greener than physical books (in terms of carbon emissions) after 23 books.
But if you’re the sort of geek who really likes gadgets, for instance, chances are you might have an iPhone and some MP3 players. And a nice digital camera. A desktop computer and a laptop, and maybe a netbook on top of that … and you leave them running all the time, because, hey, you never know when you’ll need to be online (or because you’ve always got something downloading overnight). Quick count: how many videogame consoles do you own? Televisions? When you turn out all the lights, how many little glowing red “standby” eyes stare back at you?
TreeHugger.com recently ran a piece entitled “Can America’s Gadget Obsessions Be Green-Guilt-Free?” And it’s a good question. For my part, I try to make things last as long as possible: I’m still using a Palm TX, I got my Xbox used on eBay (and haven’t gone for the 360 yet). I finally caved and bought an iPod Touch, used … but then I also got a used iPod Nano at the same time. And although I use the public library system extensively, that still doesn’t stop me from buying a lot of dead-tree books.
Addressing the second half of the “GeekDad” moniker, it’s even hard sometimes to be Green & Daddy: the biggest thing you can do to help the environment isn’t switching to cloth diapers; it’s simply not having the kid at all. But is that really going to be a convincing argument for you?
Obviously I have a lot more questions than answers on this front, but I’m trying to raise my kids to be aware of their environment, aware of the consequences of their choices. Yeah, I still buy a lot of stuff, but I try to remember that the “Reduce” part of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is probably the most effective.
So, readers, how about you? Do you struggle with being green? And if so, what’s your solution?