The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Yup, I’m just being sustainable for the status. April 6, 2010

Filed under: green angst — Alden @ 12:14 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Um, not really.

But many people are, according to this study from the University of Minnesota. They found that people will forgo luxury and comfort for items that are green and pricier, but only if other people can see it.

Well, there you have it. It stands to reason that as a person who blogs about being sustainable, I am only being sustainable because I blog about it. (Wait, was that circular reasoning?)

This model is superior because she is wearing organic clothing, obvi.

Yes, blogging about my life does keep me accountable. I’ve often thought to myself, “Shoot, I’m going to have to admit that I ate those 6 White Castle burgers on my blog.”

But at the same time, I’m not going out of my way to attend local food events, to needle my roommate to recycle her stuff, and to scour the shelves of Staples for pens made of recycled plastic, just so people will like me. I honestly believe in what I’m doing, and it’s my way of feeling relevant and helpful at a time when I’m not volunteering anywhere, nor working at a job that one would call world-changing.

And if you truly believe in being sustainable beyond just buying products that have a leaf motif plastered all over it, than that can lead to some unpopular decisions. Any regular reader knows the almost daily struggle I have between the side of me that likes to be spontaneous and fun, (“Sure! Toss me a Coors!”), the side that wants to be fashionable (“Does Banana Republic sell sustainable cashmere sweaters?”) and the side of me that wants to be consistent and true to my beliefs (“No thanks, I don’t eat hot dogs, even if it IS Fourth of July.”)

Look, I’m not judging you if you just buy Method because the packaging looks pretty and altruistic up there on your bathroom shelf. In fact, I applaud the fact that being sustainable has become a sort of fashion statement, at least in some circles. So fashion-statement on, you guys! Buy that Prius instead of an SUV! Stock up on organic food for your dinner parties, and snatch up vintage frocks. You are my kind of social climber.


It’s Official, High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Make You Fat April 1, 2010

Filed under: Food — Alden @ 12:24 am
Tags: , , , ,

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day about her food “awakening.”

“I’m reading that book,” she said, “Omnivore’s Dilemma…Scary stuff. I went to the cabinet to look at what we had, and was like “Yup, that has corn, yup, that too. Seventy percent of it had corn syrup!”

Well, I’m glad my mom is reading this book. I’ve been gently nudging her for a while, but my comments on the hypocrisy of something called Smart Start that actually has high fructose corn syrup in it went the way most helpful-but-nagging facts go: in one ear and out the other. She buys a lot of that pseudo-healthy stuff like granola bars and 100-calorie packs. Stuff which that will make you fat, even as it makes health claims. But HFCS is just sweetener made from corn, right? It can’t be any worse than table sugar. At least, that’s what the commercials say.

Well, the verdict is in on HFCS, thanks to a new study that found:

“Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.”

That’s right, if you stuff rats full of sugar, they don’t get fat. You stuff them with HFCS, and they get obese. So put down that Twinkie. Also, put down that salad dressing, granola bar, Smart Start cereal, flavored yogurt, and canned fruits and veggies, because HFCS is lurking in all those things. You can read more about sneaky foods to avoid here at EcoSalon.


I KNOW I KNOW, I’m a hypocrite February 22, 2010

I don’t bike. I don’t compost. I often forget to unplug electronics. And in some cases, I don’t unplug at all.

I think all these things are important, I just don’t do them. And I’m just like a large chunk of the population apparently.

Via Tree Hugger: A study done by the Yale University Project on Climate Change. Blue represents the people who think the eco-friendly action is important and do it. Grey is people who don’t think it’s important. And red? Those are the people who think it’s important, but fail to do it.

I mean, this doesn’t really surprise me. As much as we want to make changes, sometimes it can be really hard. Biking to work requires a bike, a fairly short commute, and a safe bike lane or trail – three things many Americans just don’t have. And some of this stuff is just so annoying.

Even though I fall in the red area of some of these, I’m making progress. I do do these things:

  • Use public transportation. (Except when I’m in Maryland.)
  • Buy locally grown food. (When I get around to it.)
  • Use reusable shopping bags. (Always!)
  • Reduce trash (Somewhat.)
  • Carry own beverage container (Yup.)
  • Recycle at home (Of course.)
  • Conserve water. (Not really, no.)
  • Raise thermostat in summer and lower it in winter. (Ha, if I had a thermostat. I regulate through opening windows.)
  • Reduce new purchases. (I opted out of Gilte Group. Happy?)
  • Reuse things. (I try!)
  • Wash laundry in cold water. (Dunno, that’s not an option on our building’s machine.)
  • Turn off unneeded lights. (Sure, who doesn’t?)

Look, being sustainable can be really hard. Especially when so many times you feel like you are swimming against the tide. But in the words of Dory: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”