I haven’t figured out how to turn off self-moderation on the comments section. It’s been difficult lately to find the time to check the incoming comments to allow or disallow them. We get a tremendous number of “trolling” comments where other sites just want a link back so that they can generate traffic for themselves…or something like that. It was explained once to me but I’ve forgotten the details.
All of this is to say that I am still moderating comments and other than the usual “junk”, I’ve been posting all of them. Happily, we have not had any feedback that has left us in tatters or have left us feeling threatened or made to feel guilty about any aspect of our lives. We do in fact, love constructive criticism. Generally we have thick skins and most of the time, if an argument is well reasoned and thought out, we will actually consider it in the spirit it was given and it may actually influence our future decisions.
Today I received a comment that I would term “destructive” in nature, rather than “constructive”. When I first read it I was quite taken aback and did not want to allow it in the comments section. Upon reflection, I’ve decided to place it right up front and give it its own post! It was from Evangeline and here is her comment in its entirety..
I THINK THIS IS STUPID!
YOU GUYS DRIVE A SUV Which is really bad for the enviroment and your all hypocrits!
You all are nutts!
Yup, I haven’t hidden the fact in any of the pictures that I drive a Honda CR-V. It definitely is an SUV; I asked before I handed over all that money! We purchased it new in 2006 (I bought it outright) and it was the last one in BC for that model year. It has AWD which allowed me to drive up and down 8km of gravel road in the winter to get from my then-home to work. I had to really twist Chris’ arm to convince him that a Smart Car or electric bicycle really wasn’t practical for a family of five living in the boonies…
We owned a Saturn for 15 years and while the gas mileage was great, I had to put chains on it often…while driving three children under three years old up a down a sometimes not-plowed road. Chains were o.k. when I was 16 and driving my mom’s car up and down that road, but I discovered a nasty, non-tolerant side to myself when I was operating on three hours of sleep hunched over car tires in the dark December evenings at -25 C with three hungry, screaming kids and #%$%^ ropes of metal that wouldn’t reach all the way around the %^&&^$# tires. (Ahh, the memories.)
The Saturn cacked in December 2006, about two weeks before I bought the CRV. Its engine simply died. Well, it was helped along by almost 400,000 kms and the fact that every winter we abused it slightly more getting it out of snow drifts, getting it up snowy roads without having to put chains on , getting it out of snow drifts, cabbaging it together so we wouldn’t have to do expensive repairs, getting it out of snow drifts…well, you get my ahem… drift…
Evangeline may not have picked up on the fact that we also own a pickup truck that was used for the business and for that we chose the most reliable, fuel efficient one we could find with 4WD, a Nissan Frontier. Its mileage isn’t steller, either, but it’s a whole lot better than other trucks that would have suited the business a lot better…
In the winter we do not licence, insure, or drive the truck, choosing instead to minimize our trips to various locations in the car. We tend to be mindful of our driving needs in the winter, and in the summer.
Summer is more difficult for us, however. We are often moving around livestock, picking up supplies for the house, taking the children to their summer activities, and now, for me, meeting with clients as I start up my business in bookkeeping and writing. We live in a rural area and the closest community is 16 kms away so vehicles do factor very large in our life, especially at this time of year.
Our direction in life has changed a lot since we made our vehicle purchases. Just making the decision to build a sustainable house was huge for us and we have been learning a lot of new and exciting ways for us to become more sustainable and to make better enviromental decisions. Vehicle useage is definitely one we are constantly talking about.
As many readers know, I am a big believer in small steps. If I didn’t believe that we are just like other people, I would never have faith that everybody has the power to help save the earth. I certainly don’t harbor grand illusions of my “special-ness”. I don’t think we have to be radical from the moment of our own personal environmental epiphany. I just think we have to continue to strive to do new things everyday. Satisfaction in the small steps, impels us to do greater and greater things. I see so many people trying very hard to change, just like us!
I also try NOT to judge other people’s lifestyle choices, especially in terms of the environment Our decisions aren’t a rejection of others’ lifestyles, but rather an affirmation of what we believe in. And I’m personally a huge believer of being the change you want to see. I think somebody a lot wiser and smarter than me coined this phrase! (Ghandi). I want people to feel good about what we are doing, not guilty about their own decisions. I don’t dwell on their vehicle choices, the composition of their garbage cans, the number of vacations they take or how much food they grow or buy. Honestly? It’s nice to have friends from all walks of life and I have a feeling that if I started rooting around in friends’ garbage cans the dinner invitations might dwindle!
So Evangeline, I hear what you are saying. But I’m not perfect, my bad choices were made with what I considered (at the time) sound reasons.
I will admit to unconscious hypocrisy in my life, though. I am constantly finding that some of my behaviors and choices conflict with my new-found values. I’ll admit to many of them: colouring my hair, forgetting my canvas grocery bags and using plastic, having a chlorine pool for the kids until this year, buying non-organic foods, buying stuff new sometimes, using personal care items that aren’t great for the ground…the list goes on and on. I sometimes get discouraged, to be honest. But then I remember just how many things I have accomplished and how many behaviours I have changed and then I feel great–not superior– just great!
Evangeline, thank you for reminding me that I have to continue to be vigilant. I wish you’d been a bit kinder, but I can see your frustration behind the words and I do appreciate where you are coming from. Oh, and thank you for your final pronouncement! It is the greatest compliment to a Burkholder – I can’t speak for the Newtons – to be called “nutts”. (I wonder if having two “t’s in nuts makes me nuttier than usual? :)) You’re neither the first to think it, nor are you the first to say it!
Keep the comments coming everybody…the thick skin is only slightly bruised!