Monthly Archives: July 2009

Green Guilt

As if us Jewish working mothers didn’t have enough to feel guilty about, we can now add green guilt to the list. I’m not talking about the guilt you feel when you’re  jealous of someone. No, it’s the guilt over apparently single-handedly destroying the planet.

Last week, I had to make an unplanned trip to the supermarket. This meant I had to go without my eco-friendly, reusable green shopping bags. The reason: We keep the bags in the trunk of our Honda Hybrid (seriously), which we use as much as possible – and certainly for supermarket trips – to reduce our footprint on the planet whenever we can. But this trip was unplanned, so I was in the wrong car and sans green bags.

I actually found myself agonizing over my decision to walk into the supermarket knowing that at the checkout I would have to take the dreaded non-reusable, eco-hating plastic bags. I didn’t have a choice – I couldn’t wait until the next day. I cursed myself for not planning properly and thus becoming an eco-offender. I sat in my gas guzzling car, in the parking lot, feeling bad for what I was about to do, feeling green guilt creeping into every fiber of my being.

I went in, did my shopping, and checked out. I found myself resenting the checkout assistant, who was just doing her job. I took the offensive plastic, non-degradable bags, and tried to optimize them as much as possible shoving as much as I could into each one. Mortified, I slunk out of supermarket with my head hanging in shame, feeling like everyone was staring at me in disgust.

So in addition to feeling bad for not having spent enough time with my children, not having finished enough work that week, not having organized my children for the next school year quickly enough, not having spoken to the friends who left me messages weeks before, and not having done laundry, I also felt guilty of the eco-crime of not having reusable bags on tap at any given moment.

I am very much in favor of living an eco-friendly life-style, and I make every effort. I finally know I am succeeding as green guilt has now seeped into the core of my Jewish maternal existence and has become yet another source of Yiddishe angst. It seems that our ethno-genetic make-up ensures that we only do well at what we feel bad about.

Stay green, stay sane and keep the shmutz down to a minimum. Here are some tips that will help you boost your own personal green guilt.

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Oui, Oui, Sarkozy

Finally, someone shouted the emperor is naked. Thank you Nicolas Sarkozy for breaking the ice and pointing out, in the most stylish, French way to Bibi Netanyahu, that it’s a mistake that the Israeli Foreign Minister is a right-wing, belligerent, xenophobe (not his words – mine).

With élan befitting a French president, behind closed doors, Sarkozy whispered words to this effect to the Israeli PM during his visit to Paris last week. Not intentionally creating any diplomatic incident, in a soft voice, he shouted out to the world that the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is no better than France’s own right wing extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen. Instead he gave his nod to former FM Tzipi Livni, whose presence is far more acceptable around the world, and whose approach is one of diplomacy and pragmatism and not of offence and brutishness.

It’s très absurd that Netanyahu accuses Sarkosy of interfering with our internal politics, when Israel publically denounced the Austrian government in 2000 after Joerg Haider’s far-right Freedom Party joined the coalition. How can we accuse other countries of condoning extreme right wing hard liners in their governments when we are doing nothing different in our own?

The absurdity continues when Netanyahu justifies Lieberman’s existence in as Foreign Minister of the State of Israel is that he has been democratically elected to represent the country. Huh? Rewind: The ruling Likud party was voted in with fewer votes that the opposition Kadima party (27 vs. 28); the person nominated to represent ALL Israelis abroad, is from the Yisrael Beiteinu party that won 15 out of the Knesset’s 120 seats in the February 2009 elections. Four months later, and it’s still hard to swallow.

We have a Foreign Minister who, if a referendum were held in Israel today, would more than likely be dumped. But the Israeli public rolls its eyes, and says: “This is the election system we have. What can you do?” Well, we may not be able to do much about it, but at the very least, we can take our hats off to French Prez Nick for doing what he does best – acknowledge nudity.

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