Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lesser of Two Evils

No Impact Man has written about the confusion that often surrounds the green movement - the decision to use paper or plastic (or neither), was only just the beginning. Sometimes the greener choice isn't always clear, and often it's because the "authorities" on such matters disagree.

Some of my recent ponderings have revealed a number of these choices, and I wonder: Which is the lesser of the two evils?

* Shopping locally or internet shopping? (green is sexy suggests internet shopping is greener, but I don't understand the reasoning)

* Shopping locally for new items (which helps the local economy and perhaps local artisans) or purchasing only used items?

* Using the dishwasher, or hand-washing dishes? (While everyone seems to say the dishwasher uses more, I'm not sure that's true for a large or very messy batch of dishes, each of which would need to be pre-soaked and then scrubbed and rinsed.)

* Tossing out, pouring down the drain, or giving away unused portions of kitchen and bath products? (Tossing is wasteful, pouring down the drain introduces possible toxins to the water system and aquatic life, and giving them away is like giving poison to a friend.)

* Cooking with butter or olive oil? (From the health standpoint, olive oil seems to win hands-down. From the environmental perspective, olive oil is shipped long-distance, but butter requires the costs associated with raising cattle, as well as the effects on the animals themselves.)

* Recycled products that are made from petroleum by-products? (They utilize materials that are already in the waste system, but then again, don't they also promote the continued use of said products? And consumerism? And don't they contain the same toxins? This includes some vegan shoes...)

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