September 17, 2000

This is my contribution to the journal collab project, Waning Poetic. The topic this month is:

It's Not Easy Being Green

What does this quote inspire in you, what do you think of? Are you green? Is this difficult? Tell us all about it.

The first thing that pops to mind, of course, is Kermit the Frog singing those words. I'm too old to have watched Sesame Street as a child but I watched it with my children.

I don't remember any more of the lyrics, so I don't know exactly what wasn't easy about being green - was it difficult being the same colour (more or less) as grass and leaves? If so, why? Because it made it harder to be noticed, easier to be ignored or even accidentally stepped upon? Perhaps Kermit just didn't like green and bemoaned his inability to change his appearance. In that case I'd recommend that he get over it and move on; accept that which you cannot change and all that. Perhaps, like grass, frogs are also greener on the other side.

When someone says "green" these days, it's usually taken to mean ecologically-friendly - hence Greenpeace and the Green Party (there are probably several of those.) I'm moderately green - I recycle paper and usually eligible plastic, except when I'm too lazy to wash out the container. Then I tell myself that it would take more energy to heat the tap water than the recycling is worth. Being pale green is not difficult now.. it used to be, before we got our own blue box (which really is blue.) I used to save up piles of paper and take them to huge recycling bins which were scattered around the area. My trunk was always full of old newspapers.

I worry about the rainforests and the pandas and the penguins (especially the penguins) and the dwindling oil reserves (not to mention the price of gas!) I bemoan the fact that electric cars have not caught on, even for city driving, and blame it on the oil cartels. (In Quebec, electricity is cheap and plentiful - except during ice storms - and is not created by burning oil or coal, but by harnessing the power of running water.)

Green is also a synonym for envious. I wholeheartedly agree that a life filled with envy cannot be easy. Envy is in the eye of the beholder, I believe. Some people are content with what they have (given that basic human needs are fulfilled) and some are never content.

If I see someone's diamond necklace or handsome husband I might feel a twinge of envy - why does she deserve these things and I don't - but it disappears quickly. I don't run my life in order to get what other people have. Besides, I feel (note choice of words.. feel, not think) that envy is bad luck. Perhaps that handsome husband ignores his wife (or worse) when nobody is looking; at the very least, he probably leaves the seat up. You just never know.

Sometimes "green" means new, lacking experience, unripe; as in the term "greenhorn" meaning someone fresh off the boat from somewhere. It can also refer to pallor in the skin of someone who's not feeling well. Neither of the above is likely to be easy. There's more.. for instance a green thumb (which I generally do not have) and the colour of money (which in Canada isn't green except maybe for the $20 bill if you count greenish-blueish-greyish.)

Just describing the colour of that bill isn't easy.

Linque Du Jour:  Relevant Online Article: How Green are Green Plastics?

Finally, in the "you can't win for losing" category, we have the poor researchers who actually developed a way to grow plastic! Not convert plastic from plants (which has also been done) but actually grow plastic granules in the leaves of corn.

While this is a tremendously exciting advance and may show promise one day, all the bugs (so to speak) aren't worked out yet. For one thing, they found it takes more energy (currently in the form of fossil fuels) to extract this plastic from the plants than is used for both power and raw materials in the manufacture of traditional plastic. Also, while this plastic is biodegradable, in the process it releases harmful greenhouse gases. It's all explained in this article in the online version of Scientific American magazine. (Link culled from Bob's weblog. Thanks!)

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