ENVIRONMENTAL GUILT Dar Williams

The acclaimed
singer-songwriter offers her Top Ten list of things she does for our planet on
a daily basis.

 

BY
DAR WILLIAMS

 

Ew,
gross. I have to sound like a super-serious, self-righteous person, because
Blurt has asked me to write and recommend 5-10 things I do for the environment
in my daily life. 

 

I
came up with 101 things once. I promised myself that if I could come up with
101 things, I could stop wearing my environmental guilt like a hairshirt and
live my life.  Nice try.

 

So
here are the Top Ten, as it were, and yes, I’d recommend them.  But I also recommend laughter and happiness.

 

 

1.     Non-renewable water bottle.  I used to be one of those
people who re-filled a plastic bottle that I’d gotten at a club or on the
road.  I was still using a ton of
bottles. When I got a metal container, I didn’t use a plastic bottle for A
YEAR.  Not one. Maybe one.  I learned a few things, but most importantly:
tap water is not bad.  Some of it’s not
so stellar. But overall, even from the bathroom at a rock club in St. Louis, I
have gotten water that tastes like water. 
Conversely, I’ve drunk water from plastic water that tastes like all
sorts of leeched crap. Really, it always has.

 

2.     Composting.  You could argue that vegetable
matter just biodegrades at the landfill. 
It doesn’t. It becomes part of a giant toxic, corrosive  soup that has even more volume for all the
tomatoes and avocado skins that go into it. 
Composting actually does make your land better and your vegetables
bigger (when you spread it on your land). I’ve always composted very badly (yet
proudly), but my husband took it on like a science project and the best thing
to do is one layer of kitchen scraps, one layer of straw (not hay, which has
seeds), and a handful of dirt. And repeat. 
If you live in an urban area, your farmer’s market might collect it. I
used to bring it to Union Square in NYC. I froze my compost the night before
and it was just starting to thaw by the time I got off the subway.  Once it thawed and leaked. Not a good day for
that car.

 

3.     I don’t shower every day.

 

4.     I drive a fuel efficient car.  Not much to
add to this, but I’ll put in a plug for the TDI (turbo diesel injected) cars.
We get 44+ mpg and we can run on biodiesel which is evermore available,
especially in percentages (B20 is 20% bio-diesel, 80% regular diesel, for
instance). Not all efficient cars were created Prius.

 

5.     We recycle.

 

6.     I live in a pedestrian village.  Hey, why
don’t you do that?  You know, this
afternoon. Break up with your fiancé and move to a place where you can walk to
your post office, library, train, and daycare center.  I did an interview in Treehugger where I talk
about it, but it’s obviously not an option for everyone.

 

7.     We have a garden.  We used to have one with our
neighbors, and that was really great. 
Now we have our own and we have vegetables in our morning eggs, salad
for lunch, beans whenever, and whatever’s leftover for dinner.  I eat plenty of other stuff, too. I have a
terrible sweet tooth.  But my favorite
part of the day is going out and picking stuff from the garden. Or just looking
at it.

 

8.     Energy Star. It’s the sticker that tells you when appliances meet a higher energy
efficiency requirement. A big portion of making the world sustainable is in a
large, nebulous category called “green building”. Efficiency is bigger part of
this than having solar panels, but…

 

9.     We have solar panels.

 

10.    I try to do fundraisers and get involved in community projects. Getting involved with something you believe in community-wise, the smaller the
better, tends to have exponential benefits.  

 

 

There
is just too much anxiety in the world right now.  I love being involved in the environment.
It’s a stress reliever for me. I don’t want it to be a stress inducer for
someone else!

 

Dar Williams’ latest album is Many Great
Companions, out now on Razor & Tie.
Details, tour dates, and more at her official website.

 

Leave a Reply