Archive for June, 2017

When Eco Mission Clashes with Eco Reality: The SilverLeaf Chronicles 11 “

Contributed by Dr. Sarah

“I hope you’re getting a fuel efficient car,” says my fourteen year-old when I tell him that the car I’m about to buy the car that will become his when he goes to college. In fact, I bought a hybrid Honda Accord to replace the all-electric SilverLEAF. It meets my son’s criteria. As my ex says, “He’s your son!” It’s a smiling mom moment.

With some remorse, we leave the small but growing “club” of owners of all-electric cars. My regret is that even though I’m deeply committed to living as “green” as possible, I couldn’t make our lives work with a limited battery range. And charge time. For me as a single parent with one car, it was a source of stress that could be eliminated from an impossibly complicated life.

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I live in the vise grip of the sandwich generation. An aging mother for whom I have increasing responsibilities, whose other child lives 2000 miles away. Two “tweens,” both with special needs. I’m a self-employed single mom. I juggle more plates than I can, imperfectly.

I really wanted to make it work with an all-electric car. Before I leased the NissanLEAF, I’d been saying in this blog and elsewhere— “I’m going to get the greenest car I can afford.”

Well, I’ve revised that. Now I’m saying, “I’m getting the greenest car I can afford that fits my overly complicated life.”

The NissanLEAF is really affordable. You can lease one for as little as about $200 a month. It costs next to nothing to charge ($10 per month for us in our geographic location, driving about 8000 miles a year). There’s pretty much no maintenance. It emits no global warming pollution.

But, I had to ask myself “What amount of money would make it worth the stress of worrying about running out of battery charge.” I realized the answer was: “No amount of money.” I had to follow my own advice as a psychologist: “Eliminate the stress you can, so you can better manage the stress that you can’t eliminate.”

I got spoiled by the low cost of the SilverLEAF. It’s going to be an adjustment to think about gas prices, and not-insignificant annual maintenance costs. I will not feel good about burning fossil fuels again, and generating global warming pollution as I drive. I will miss waving to other drivers of the NissanLEAF and enjoying that sense of fellowship.

But… there’s reality. Or what I call “eco reality.” Each of our lives has constraints. When we make decisions about how to balance our various responsibilities and lifestyle choices, we get to factor in the realities of our lives.

I will keep blogging, of course, about the challenges and rewards of living an eco-friendly life— including the decision to buy the specific hybrid we chose— in an era when the policies that have brought us clean air and clean water are in the path of a massive wrecking ball. A reckless wrecking ball.

I’ll continue to share stories of our family’s efforts to live “green” and I’ll keep touting the rewards of speaking out to our elected officials on climate policy, one of the most effective and empowering actions we can take, as I’ve discovered from my own experience.

In the wake of our President’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, you will hear more from me about ways that we can answer the call to local action when our national leadership is failing our children. The SilverLEAF Chronicles blog thread will be no more, but this mother who loves her children fiercely remains fired up. And so this blog will carry on, as I continue to use my spheres of influence, and seek to empower others to reap the rewards of using their spheres of influence to ensure our children a world in which they can thrive.

June 24, 2017 at 10:26 pm Leave a comment


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