29 December 2010

Top 5 reasons why being a twitterin’ junkie is not green

If someone - anyone! - suggested to me that I, too, would ultimately join the ranks of the Twittering-Digging-Mixxing-Stumbling-and-Facebook-addicted, I would have dramatically tossed my head back and laughed with reckless abandon for a good 7 minutes straight. Social networking doesn't exactly gel with my personality, and to be perfectly honest, I actually relished the anonymity and simplicity inherent in my formerly unplugged life. Of course I use a computer - don't we all? - but after putting in an honest day's work, I was always able to push myself away from the desk and easily say buh-bye! to that big hunk of hardware until the next morning.

Throughout the years, the ever-increasing availability of portable tech devices has certainly registered in my noggin and I've watched on the sidelines as friends sighed deeply while attempting to manage the apparently escalating demands of their cyber responsibilities. It has always seemed so strange to me that many of them turned off their various pocket-worthy devices altogether or audibly harrumphed as they sent out a half-hearted Tweet here and there into the world for all to see -- as if tossing out a few crumbs to placate their legions of followers was still too much effort, despite it being their choice. I knew without question that I wanted no part of the madness, nor of the apparently irresistible forces of the iPhone and other nifty modes of communication. Remarkably, all of the flashy tech gear beckoning at every turn has still done nothing to compromise my steely resolve.

How it came to be that I -- intentional eschewer of all non-necessary 21st century technologies -- ended up getting sucked head-first into the online social media tractor beam emanating from my desktop computer is of no real concern. What's far more interesting (and baffling) is that the collectively maddeningly and highly addictive forces seducing me through my computer screen have caused this eager greenie to get sucked into a fast-and-furious vortex of decidedly non-green behavior. This naturally led me to wonder -- is it possible that my Twitter-Digg-Stumble Upon-Mixx-Delicious-Reddit-Technorati-Facebook addiction has been systematically undoing all of my greenification efforts? Below are my dead-honest and rather unsettling observations...you be the judge.

Energy Use Increased.

Although my addiction has been going on for the past 2 years, the fact remains that I have been glued to my computer screen for an average of 14 hours a day due to my online work responsibilities. Back in the day, I used to sleep some of those hours. I realize now that I'm not only keeping my lights on longer -- my computer is also tapping into some serious ampage.

Diet Became Uber-Crummy.

From the moment I park myself in front of my desk until the moment I tear myself away in the late, late hours of the evening, I've noticed that anything I can graze on (out of a bag) has become my closest computer companion. Junk food is one of our environment's worst offenders, and yet I, one of the most dedicated green living gurus out there cannot seem to resist the force of the Dorito. How pathetic that my Twitter-et-al addiction has rendered me incapable of peeling a grapefruit or chomping on some carrots instead. Take a peek into my garbage can and all you'll see are empty plastic bags and mylar snack food wrappers. Baaaaad greenie.

Personal Grooming Took a Nose-Dive.

Mayday! Mayday! Things have gone from bad to worse in record time. Thank God you can't see what I'm talking about between the words on your screen...it is NOT a pretty sight. Some environmental enthusiasts might argue that I have, in fact, helped the planet by dramatically reducing my water consumption and cutting back on the amount of personal care products that I wash down the drain. Ha ha ha. Nice try, people. Thanks to my walk on the sludgey side (and decidedly grody junk food diet), my skin has decided to revolt by incubating a horrifying collection of blemishes that I didn't know were possible for someone past the age of puberty. Nowwww I'm forced to buy a bunch of industrial-strength products to combat an issue that wouldn't have arisen at all if I had just torn myself away long enough to take a few showers. Yeah, I know...I disgust myself, too. Thanks a lot, Twitter-n-company!

Household Looks Like Hell In A Handbasket.

You don't even know the half of it. While I admit that having four geriatric felines on the prowl can result in an awful lot of collective kitty tumbleweeds, vomit, bile, hairballs and, well -- let's face it -- feline sneeze juice, when one allows this kind of force to go unchecked for any extended period of time, the result is eye-crossingly vile. Guess what, folks? My sweet little natural cleaning arsenal is NO MATCH for the freak show that is leaping off of my hardwood floors. Trust me...I just tried spraying three of my normally hardest working natural cleaners on what appears to be baked-on-caked-on mystery cat goo and the funky mass didn't even flinch or whimper. Methinks I'm forced to dig the turbo Clorox out from the bowels of my cleaning product box of shame.

Lost Touch With Reality!

"How can that be?" some of you must be saying...no worries, allow me to shed some light. While I have become hyper-connected to the world of Diggs and walls and Tweets and diddleydoos, I am at the core a nature lover, pure and simple. I still have enough of my wits remaining to recognize that my cyber-reality has completely overshadowed my reality-reality. The organic seeds that I meant to start in wee little peat pots indoors only just last year are still sitting on my counter top untouched, as is the plot of land outside my home that I had grand intentions of transforming into my first official raised bed. I've been so busy getting my Twitter on that I haven't stopped to smell the air wafting outside my window, or taken a moment away from my desk to witness the random wildlife visitors roaming my Colorado mountain property.

I think that one of the major reasons why a person goes green is to embrace Mother Nature's treasures and to do what they can to lessen their personal impact on the earth. While I can't say with any degree of certainty that I am ready, willing or able to shake this nasty computer-connected habit of mine, I am sure that it has compromised my ability to walk a greener path. At the most simple level, I miss inhaling genuine outdoor air and taking in the sights and sounds of the forest surrounding my home. Carl Jung once said that every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. If he only had just a slight inkling of what was percolating on the social media horizon, he might have changed his tune to include anything and everything tech-related. Sadly, even with this greenie-guilt weighing heavily upon my mind, I know that as soon as I complete this exercise in self-flagellation, I plan to post it on Twitter. See? I'm a lost cause :(

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
Elizah Leigh's master's degree in education combined with her passion for the written word and deep-seated interest in environmental issues has proven to be the ideal trifecta for her present status as a green journalist. Currently commissioned to write a reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/spencereholtaway