I'm all about the small steps approach to environmentalism -- little things that can add up to make a big difference in improving our environment, like the Green Living Challenge.
But you have to pick your battles. Why? Because if people think going green means they have to change every single thing they do and give up every nicety, they're liable to tune you out.
Take Sheryl Crow's recent blog post on toilet paper conservation:
Crow (4/19, Springfield, Tenn.): I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming. Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of forest conservation which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.
Is making toilet papers out of new trees a big issue? Absolutely. Vanity Fair's Green Issue recently reported 500,000 acres of virgin forest in northern Alberta and Ontario are clear-cut every year to make toilet paper. Allen Hershowitz, an expert on paper consumption at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, "We're wiping our asses with endangered habitat."
But is a solution asking people to ration their TP usage? No. The NRDC's website has a guide to recycled alternatives, although I will warn you ... the recycled brand I tried wasn't nearly as soft as the virgin forest variety.
And here's where nit-picking can backfire. After Laurie David and Crow confronted Karl Rove at the White House Correspondents Dinner last weekend about the Bush administration's indifference on global warming, conservative media outlets were looking for something -- anything -- to use to bash Crow. She's a great singer, smart, gorgeous, and a breast cancer survivor. What could they possibly use to make fun of her?