Thursday, January 21, 2010

Doing Green in Kenya (with a touch of humor)

I’m (Malin writing) really the last one to ask about going “green”, environmentalism, or global warming. To be honest I always really really wanted to be “green” (kind of like I always wanted to be a morning person), but it never clicked (or maybe I never committed to what it required).

I never mastered recycling; can I recycle magazines, do I need to clean out the milk jug first, what color container for disposables? I prefer Costco and Wendy’s to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I like making a camp fire and burning wood even when there is no point. I take long hot showers in the morning. I love red meat and would eat it 3 meals a day if I could. Don’t ask me what my carbon footprint is, all I know is I wear a size 8, (40 UK).

But I tell you I have really tried to “go green.” I even saw Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth,” and although it was nifty to watch our former Vice-President raised into the sky by a construction lift next to his life-size global warming graph, but I’m skeptical when provocative claims (New York will be under water in a decade) are used to motivate change. The last time I was at a trendy coffee shop in Oregon, I went green and ordered a fois grass latte and couldn’t down the first swallow. I saw the McDonald’s documentary “Super-size It” and even though my mind was greatly convinced, my stomach can’t resist a large order of french fries. I even tried Namaste Yoga at a spiffy spa- but in the midst of ohming..I realized I couldn’t touch my toes. For goodness sakes, I have lived in both uber-green cities Portland and Seattle and have never set foot inside a vegetarian restaurant.

Regardless, it is clear that God asks us to be Stewards of the world he has given to us: “The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it” (Ps. 24:1).

So here in Africa (even though for the vast majority of Kenyans the task of simply living does not afford the luxury of environmental concerns) we as a family I think are making many good “green” decisions. I guess I call them decisions, even if most are decisions out of necessity (Hey, I’m doing my best).

We walk to work, school, church, friend’s houses, and the local dukas.
We are partial locavores (we buy and eat year-round available fresh produce from the “vegetable ladies.”)
Our milk we drink for lunch was probably in the udder of Daniel’s Cow just a few hours ago.
We have a Shamba and grow our own lettuce, potatoes, thyme, carrots, and onions.
We are a 1 car family. I think we drive perhaps one of the most fuel efficient Missionary cars in Kenya. Our Toyota Corolla often gets strange looks from police when they see our family in these vehicles here are frequently used as taxis.
We have solar panels on our roof that reliably (as long as we have a couple hours of sun) provide the majority of our hot water needs.
Lastly, perhaps to your surprise my hair-care needs do not require aersol hairsprays. Don’t worry I stay far away from BPP’s, DVT’s, HDL’s and all those other nasty acronyms.

And please help me out. If there are any green trends that have caught-on back in the States in the last 14 months, keep me in the loop. I’m behind as it is and need all the help I can get.


Family said...

Very amusing post. Thanks for the green lesson ;-)

Dona Rientjes said...

cleverly written & soooo funny! thanks for that....I get talked to all the time by students who visit & think I should recycle this or do that to be green....I have a long ways to go!

Jennifer said...

Hey, I can take you to a vegetarian restaurant, even a vegan one! Next time you're in Portland, you will have no choice.

The Friess Family said...


You are on will do a vegan restaurant in portland. Will you join us at Ringside as well on Powell Blvd?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for identifying who is writing in these two new posts.

Anonymous said...

Decreased use of fossil fuels would benefit the world. Go nuclear! Grampie