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3:07 pm - Weds 4.23.2008
The \"Greening\" Of Jim H.

The "Greening" Of Jim H.

It struck me some time back that, while I’m not going to beat out Ed Begley Jr. for “‘Greenest’ Celebrity” anytime soon (And not just because I’m not a celebrity yet), I’m much “greener” than I used to be.

1. I ride my bike to work (And to auditions when it’s feasible). And I use the Metro to go to my casting workshops. And I’m considering, when the times comes, turning in my car for a scooter or a hybrid (Depending, in part, on my financial circumstances when said time comes).

2. I walk to the grocery store, with my little grocery cart, and use cloth grocery bags.

3. They’ve started recycling in my apartment building, so I’m doing that (I leave my returnable bottles out for the homeless guys who go through the dumpster).

4. For a long time, I’ve had this website bookmarked, thinking I might someday buy one of the houses described (And while I know little to nothing about it at this point, I’d definitely consider “green” options like having the home constructed from “recycled materials”, using solar power, etc.).

Now, I’m not really “green”, by any stretch of the imagination - I still drive all over town on auditions, I buy lots of prepackaged food, I don’t buy green products, I’m too lazy to recycle anything that has to be cleaned first, etc. - but like I said, I’m greener than I used to be.

Why?

Well, here’s the thing - it’s really not because I’ve become more “ecologically aware” or anything like that (That’s really only happened, to the extent that it has, “after the fact”); everything I listed has come about, or is something I’m considering having come about, because it’s easy and/or serves my own best interests in some way.

1. I started riding a bike because parking is a bitch in my neighborhood (And to a lesser extent, to save money; when I moved here, it was scary to find myself making less money than I’d made in Lansing, and paying more for everything. And to a still-lesser extent, I ride a bike because driving in LA can be really annoying). And I started thinking about a scooter in order to get around the parking situation, while still getting to auditions and gigs in a timely manner (And a scooter would add up to big savings in gas. And I ‘ve thought it might just be fun).

2. I walk to the grocery store because I can (There are three within walking distance of my apartment). And, once again, because parking sucks in my neighborhood; once I’m parked, I don’t want to move my car if I don’t have to).

The grocery bags happened for two reasons - my apartment was becoming overrun with plastic bags (I used to re-use the paper bags I’d get, but the Ralphs I go to has pretty much stopped using paper), and those plastic bags, when carrying heavy groceries home from the store, would kill my hands, cutting into my fingers like knives (It was quite awhile before I finally broke down and bought a cart to deal with my groceries, getting over my fear of looking like a homeless guy).

3. The recycling I do because it’s readily available to me now, and isn’t much more inconvenient than taking out the trash (I throw my recyclables in my “grocery cart”, then when I want to go shopping, I just stop by the recycling bins to “unload” before going on my way).

And before that, I started leaving my bottles out for the homeless people because I felt guilty just throwing them away (I still don’t know where the nearest recycling center is, and always doubted it would be worth the trip for the 5-cents a bottle deposit). And I liked that I could help the homeless in this small way, without having to “extend myself” financially (Since there weren’t really any finances to “extend”).

4. I’m not sure how I became aware of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company (I think maybe from a story on BoingBoing.net), but something about the houses I saw immediately appealed to me.

My first response to the houses was similar to when I first saw the Mini-Cooper - I thought they looked “fun”, and as a single guy (Who’s likely to be single for the duration), they were really all I needed. In effect, they acknowledged the reality of my solitary existence, but in an up-beat - almost jaunty - way (“You’re alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice life...”).

But more recently, I’m thinking of a Tumbleweed House as a hedge against a future downturn in fortunes, a way I could “live on next-to-nothing”, and still live.

Or, to put a more positive spin on it, a way to insure that I only have to take acting jobs I really want to take; with a house that could be bought and paid for from one really good year’s acting income, with minimal utility bills (with solar power, recycled water, and what-have-you), with living space at a premium (So I couldn’t concern myself with “acquiring things” even if I wanted to), I could take jobs as they come without worrying about paying the bills/keeping up my “lifestyle”.

And I’d have a place, however small, that was mine.

The interesting thing, to me, is that while none of this started from a concern for the environment, I've sort of "backed into" environmental concerns. And I feel good that, even inadvertently, I’m doing less harm to the Earth than before.

I often feel like my life doesn’t matter, that there won’t be anything of worth left behind when I’m gone. So wouldn’t it be ironic if the way I end up “making my mark on the world” is, in part, by leaving less of a “mark” on the world?


 

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