Monday, February 05, 2007

Rock and a hard place

This no car thing had been going really quite well thanks to a couple of sets of friends nearby who've been kind enough to let us use their cars when they weren't. In fact, there was something about the model of shared car ownership it implied that rather appealed to my idealistic green side - I could envisage a future in which this is the way we all do things to save on resources. Sort of peace, love and communal vehicles.

Plus, it was fine when the weather was only rather chilly - I could bundle Dot up, take her for walks and get lost in reveries of simpler times before we had cars while basking in the glow of our dramatically reduced carbon footprint.

But then it got properly, bitingly cold. Taking Dot for a walk today wasn't an option. But babies, like adults, get cabin fever too and by about four o'clock I'd gone through my complete dog and pony repertoire twice, and she knew it and she was wasn't being fobbed off any longer. This is the point in the day where I usually strap her into the Bjorn and strike forth, but today all I could do was stick Madonna on the iPod and jig around the kitchen like a loony. It did the trick, but I think tomorrow I'll need to find a way to get us out of the house, car or no car - for both our sakes.

Then something happened to give me mixed feelings about getting our own car back. Someone posted a comment letting me know that diesel fumes are supposed to be particularly bad for infants' lungs; to be precise, the comment read:

"so recent studies show that desiel fumes possibly damage infants developing lungs- so what's it to be childrens lungs or the planet?"

I googled it and found any number of links to articles about school buses giving kids asthma, diesel being a carcinogen, etc. Oh no! Oh god! Why didn't these posts come up when I was looking into the relative eco merits of different vehicle options? Probably because my google criteria were too narrow, but what have I DONE?! Poor little Dot!

The hubby wasn't amused either.

"I thought you'd researched diesel cars. Did you know about this?" he said in a slightly accusing tone.

"I thought I had done my research but of course I didn't know about this," I said plaintively.

"So now you don't want the diesel car after all?" he said.

"Oh god, I don't know, we'll just have to keep her out of the way of any possible fumes," I said, wishing google would yield some contrary evidence. It didn't.

And here in a nutshell is one of the biggest problems of this being green business. I mean, talk about ignorance is bliss. Either you find out about all these problems you had no idea existed, or every time you think you've got it sorted, you realize all you've done is open a can of worms: I also received two comments today about lavender oil causing young boys to grow breasts; then there's the 'organic food has often been flown from Mexico' issue, the 'Wal Mart getting in on organic will just dilute what organic means' debate and the 'it uses so much energy to transport the recycling waste that any benefits of recycling are cancelled out' argument. It makes me wonder if I'm doing any good at all.

"Well that'll teach you to be so dogmatic," said the hubby, or words to that effect anyway.

I'm pretty sure he wanted to say 'I hate to say I told you so', but since I was clearly sufficiently depressed already, instead he said 'I think you should have an early night dear.'

For once I'm going to take his advice.

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