Sustainability for the Lazy

I am a lazy environmentalist. I care deeply about the environment and while I’m cheering on the efforts of Sustainable Princeton and other groups, I’m trying to find ways to fit my ideals into my busy lifestyle. A red rake propped in front of a white hammock on lawn area

So, for example, I have a compost pile but I do nothing to maintain it except add fruit and vegetable scraps and toss it with a pitchfork. There’s no bin, no effort to achieve just the right temperature or whatever it is you’re supposed to do with the darned thing.  It’s just a big lumpy pile.

But there’s no better example of my family’s lazy approach to the sustainable cause than our lawn. We don’t use chemicals partly because we’re against putting chemicals into the environment and partly because we simply can’t be bothered putting that much effort into our lawn. There are a dozen things we’d rather do than spend time worrying about dandelions.

My problem is only partly that I’m lazy. Sure, I dream about lying on the couch all day but I never seem to make it there.  Like most people in Princeton – I’m crazy busy keeping all those balls in the air as a teacher, a writer and a mother. My husband and I spend our days working, driving kids around, shopping, cleaning, and did I mention driving kids around? We can’t be bothered with lawn care. We can barely get the laundry done.

I think here’s room at the table for both the environmental couch potatoes – those who have the ideals but have no energy to spare and the full-fledged activists who are doing such a good job leading the cause. Even the laziest of us, myself included, can do things like bring bags to the grocery store (see Sustainable Princeton’s BYOBag Campaign) or join the food waste collection program. There are numerous other ways to get involved for those who hunger for more.

I am here to say that you can be lazy and still be an environmentalist.  I am the last person who can lecture anyone on the right way to do things but I can share my own struggles and occasionally offer advice from people who know how to do things the non-lazy way. I’m pretty sure there’s more to this composting thing than tossing the pile with a pitchfork, for example.  I’ll share what I’ve learned about ways we can all do our part and hopefully still find time for that elusive nap on the couch. Hey, we can dream, can’t we?