Return of The Thistle

June 25, 2008

“Hey! Long time no anything! How’s it going?

“Oh hey, you! Great, it’s going great. Yeah.”

[awkward pause]

“Do you even remember who I am?”

“Oh my god, totally, don’t be ridiculous. You’re Green as a… um… Green as… *cough*… you know.”

[silent head-shaking]

Well, don’t worry, readers. You may have completely forgotten about your long lost e-friend Green as a Thistle; and in truth, I did say I was finished my challenge, finished the blog and finished being a hippie.

However, much like the pretend early retirements of Cher, Jay-Z and Crunchy Chicken, there really was no way this little blog of mine could just drop off the face of the earth without any sign of resurrection. I went through a year’s worth of intense environmental do-gooding, complete with nervous breakdowns, impulse house purchases, book deals and more — I figured the least I could do was provide some sort of epilogue.

After my big ungreening party, which included bowls full of sour keys and Doritos, whipped cream in an aerosol can, paper napkins, imported beer and lots of incandescent lighting, the first thing I did was have a hot bath. Then I shaved my legs. Finally, I went out for a completely non-vegan, non-local, non-sustainable brunch and walked it off with a shopping trip to H&M and Urban Outfitters, where I bought a pile of clothes that were most definitely not made from organic cotton or bamboo.

It was an indulgent weekend, yes. But as of Monday, I had gotten all this pent-up green resentment out of my system and it was pretty much back to normal. For the past three and a half months, then, I’ve been living as conscientiously as possible without getting anxious about it — this, I like.

Looking through my massive list of 366 changes, I did some calculations and figured out that I’m keeping up with about 271 of them (that’s 74%).

All my food is still organic and local wherever possible but I’m now eating avocados and bananas, as well as drinking imported booze. Coffee and tea are still fair-trade, and eggs, dairy and meat are also organic, free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free, etc. I refill my detergent and shampoo bottles, ride my bike and take public transit everywhere, use my Sigg bottle, portable chopsticks and so on.

Sadly, my fridge is plugged back in. I was really intent on keeping it unplugged because I had such a great experience learning to eat and cook without that stainless steel, energy-sucking beast, but alas, a few items like milk and asparagus and hummus kept creeping in there and in the end, I just left it. I’m still thinking about switching to a mini bar fridge or getting some of those insulating blocks, though.

I continue to only fill my kettle with the exact amount of water needed for boiling and give regularly to Kiva and other green causes and, believe it or not, I still don’t use toilet paper for #1. The temperature on my water heater is turned down and the rubber ball I have from saving all the elastic bands on my newspaper each morning has grown to a pretty hefty size.

What have I given up? Well, I wear makeup again, for starters. I use toilet paper to blow my nose instead of a handkerchief, I don’t make my own toothpaste and my clothes don’t all come from thrift stores. I continue to volunteer with a local green organization but I’m not about to sign petitions and write letters to the environment minister about the seal hunt every single week. I most definitely do NOT take Navy Showers, nor are they lukewarm (although I will still shower in the dark occasionally). I’m back to chewing gum, although I still use “vegan waxed” floss and avoid toothpicks. I tend to use my computer after dinner, unfortunately, however I do keep my television off and haven’t ordered cable again.

Aside from all the green stuff, two big changes:

1) I wrote a book! It’s currently 82,199 words and will come out in Spring ’09 (just in time for Earth Day), and it’s going to be good, I promise — not boring, not preachy, not a redundant How-To guide or flighty piece of chick-lit with phrases like “eco-chic” or “glamorously green.” This is a memoir, it’s funny, it’s honest and hopefully it says a couple smart things here and there, too. Tentatively, it’s called Single Green Female: How an eco-cynic unplugged her fridge, sold her car and found love in 366 days.

2) What’s that, you say? Found love? Yes, yes, it’s true. While I’m still a green female, I’m technically no longer single. One of my best friends, who I’ve known for 15 years (the answers to life are always right under our noses, aren’t they?) ended up becoming more than a friend, and he’s just perfect: green-minded without being neurotic about it, has a social conscience without being holier-than-thou about it, was incredibly supportive during the final, grueling push of my challenge — and he’s cute, too! (He snapped the photo above, by the way, of me sitting with Deni’s brother Alistair on Toronto Island).

Anyway, as I’ve said a million times before, I hate long posts, so I’ll leave it at that for now. But keep me on your RSS feed, your Google Reader, your email notification thingy or whatnot — there won’t be anymore daily Thistle posts, but we could still be friends, right?

So, let the re-greening begin!

UPDATE: So, it turns out the Americans don’t so much like Single Green Female. They like Sleeping Naked is Green. Man, oh man, book titles are not easy, folks. But hey, if you can come up with a better one than either of these, suggest it below, and I’ll dedicate the entire thing to you!