Category Archives: Green

Skeptical Gardener

I’m very happy in my new home. I’m especially happy with my large yard. I’ve already picked a small patch for gardening, and may try to weasel my way to expanding the borders if I can get the BF to cooperate with my plans. As spring planting time is nearly upon me, I’m gathering all my supplies. Reclaimed wood, containers, seeds, and information.

As I’ve been researching for things to plant, I’ve found that some are being claimed to have special properties. For instance, I’ve often heard it claimed that marigolds repel aphids and that nasturtiums repel rabbits. Such a thing is incredibly useful to gardeners, if true. And even if it isn’t true, there’s no harm in pretty flower borders decorating the veggie patch, is there?

Still, I would look very silly if I said to someone who knew better that this magic flower over there kept pests at bay, only to have him turn around and tell me that it’s doing no more to ward of pests than it is to ward of tigers. Just because the pest isn’t around doesn’t mean my plant actually put up an effective force field. Why did I think it would? Because someone told me?

When I first heard claims of pest-control plants, I was eager to accept it as truth. After all, I heard it from gardeners, people who have been working the land longer than I’ve been alive so I’d think they know a thing or two. It would certainly benefit me if the claims were, indeed, accurate. But just wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so, nor does hearing it from a perceived authority. This is something I gave little though until I considered another kind of plant use claim, on that I doubt, that being medicinal plants.

I’ve always found the effects certain plants are said to have for humans very interesting. Some flowers and herbs, I am told, have medicinal properties and can cure things like headaches and stomach upset, can promote healing, or can help you lose weight. I’ve even heard such lofty claims as this or that plant can prevent or cure cancer.

Do some plants really have the medicinal effects claimed? Maybe. I mean, it’s known that some plants can have an effect on animals. I mean, as an example right off the top of my head, the effects (medicinal and otherwise) of cannabis on humans are well known. And if I’m not mistaken, the developers of pharmaceutical have been known to look to plants, on occasion, in the development of new drugs. Plants can affect people as more than just a source of nutrition, and sometimes do so in some pretty strange ways.

I’m not questioning whether or not plants can possibly have medicinal uses. It’s whether or not the specific plants claimed really work as claimed, and whether or not they are really more effective and safer than commercial drugs. I’m not one to just believe whatever I’m told. Not without proof.

Sadly, I’m finding research on the matter a bit difficult. Actual scientific studies on such matters are hard to come by, and definitive conclusions harder still. Meanwhile, there remain so many claims out there, and it seems like more are sprouting up all the time as the “alternative medicine” movement gains steam online. It is therefore difficult for me to determine which claims are true, or at least plausible, and which are just “alternative medicine” hogwash. Honestly, I’m inclined to doubt “alternative medicine.” I doubt that any plant is medicinal until I can verify that it is.

It would be nice if I could grow my own personal pharmacy. However, until I can find proof that the herbs and flowers I’ve been told can do this or that really do as advertized, I will have the lingering and uncomfortable suspicion that I’d just be doing the gardening equivalent of superstitiously throwing salt over my shoulder, getting, at best, a placebo effect.

This doubt in herbal medicine makes me also wonder about the pest-control claims of companion plants. These claims too would be nice if true, but are they really? I don’t know.

This feels like an odd post to write because I’ve basically proposed a problem and then didn’t follow with a solution, making this post seem somewhat incomplete. The truth is, as of right now, I don’t have an answer.

Choosing Pets Over Kids? (MOVED!)

Woops! This blog post has moved. You can find it at its new home HERE.

Drive-By Thoughts: Money

According to BabyCenter.com, for the cost of about $200,000 over 18 years, I can afford just one baby (without mooching off the government and taking funds away from people with actual need.) $200,000, and that’s in 2010 value (not accounting for future inflation) and at 2010 average costs of child-rearing. And that’s not even including college tuition. $200,000! 200k just to afford one baby.

OR I can use that money to do things that I will actually enjoy and thereby have a nicer life than I would otherwise. Additionally, I could use that money to help other people in need do the same for themselves. Yeah, instead of losing money and making my life and the world worse, I can keep my money and make my life and the world better.

Why don’t I want to have kids? Because I can do math. Pretty simple decision, really.

Incidentally, I feel much better about the amount of money I spend taking the boyfriend out to dinner every now and then, considering how much we’re saving by being childfree.

Anti-Childfree Dishonesty

How do I keep stumbling across this garbage? I found another dishonest anti-childfree post (aren’t they all?) earlier today. Let me tell you, it’s a pile. At least finding it wasn’t a result of being trolled, this time.

This post of mine began as a comment on the garbage post in question, but it was so long that I figured, “why waste it?” I included the whole of the blog post that I’m responding to so as to provide full context. Hmm… context… now there’s a novel concept, eh Meag?

I was just reading through old drafts and I wrote this one up several months ago and I figured I might as well post it, so herrreeee you goooo:

I really don’t understand the phenomenon of the Childfree attitude. Mainly the part about disliking children. The thing is, I like kids and I don’t really want to have any of my own but I stilllike them. You know why? BECAUSE I WAS ONE. How can you hate something that you once were? And it’s not like being a child was a bad choice you made one time in college after too many tequilas. It’s like scoffing at people who have had grandparents.

childfri

I think the most ridiculous aspect of the Childfree movement is that they believe they are social outcasts and need support groups because of how they are ostracized for spiteful behavior that defies all biological impulses and removes you from possibly your only reason for existence.

Childfree

My thoughts are that they just don’t want to share their toys.

First off, there’s the Childfree Ghetto  and these are my favorite quotes:

Be “green,” don’t be “green,” have kids, don’t have kids, it’s your choice. However, do NOT claim to be environmentalist in ANY way when you have children.

Because wanting to sustain a healthy planet for future generations has nothing to do with having future generations.  

Even on those days when I feel like life sucks, I tell myself, “At least I don’t have kids to support or look after or fight with someone about.”…I know a lot of people who cope to varying degrees with parenthood, but nobody who actually enjoys it.

I know right? AT LEAST IM NOT ONE OF THOSE SUCKERS.

I don’t care how many kids you have, or how tired they are, or how tired you are. If I got to the gate an hour ago to get my boarding pass, I deserve to board ahead of you. Plain and simple. If you’re disabled, or ill, or elderly, then I have no problem letting you board ahead of me because you aren’t as robust as I am and you need to be seated more quickly, or have special seating arrangements.

Because it isn’t ageism when you make special exceptions for the elderly, but FUCKING KIDS ARE SO SPOILED ARRGHAGHGAGH CROTCH DROPPINGS

Abandon your babies, Japan. Do it for the children!

And then there’s the Childfree Clique,

ChildfreeChick

which is (I assume) One woman (the childfree chick)’s crazy rambling about how lonely she is and rants about her friends being so stupid as to get married and find children:

…As someone who’s just recently been through the drama of watching a close friend have a baby and then morph into an undesirable

Then, in dissing one of these women who naturally decides to have children, she inevitably describes herself as well:

a new woman joined our social circle. She’s 32, from the same state I’m from and new to AZ, lives very near to my neighborhood, is a vegetarian (just like me), is completely non-religious (hello, ME!) is childless but has a dog she considers to be her child (yup, me again), is professional and career driven…and is basically, in a nutshell, a mirror image of me personality wise.

The problem? 
She wants babies. 
Fuckitty fucking motherfuck gawddamnitalltohell.

childfree_-_biology

It is, actually. Death is a biological result of life.

Both of these women sound completely insufferable. She regularly refers to stay at home moms as “unemployed stupid Mombies” (which I’m sure she’s totally proud of herself for inventing), and she shits on some parents for having crying children in a movie theater after admitting that she was also openly sobbing during the same movie.

JoyofTech

Basically, any militantly anti-anything movements make absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Especially when they are such totally normal things that exist in the world. I would probably go ahead and lump these child-free people in with straight xXx punk rawkers and angry anti-theists.

Because vaguely believing in a higher power, having a glass of wine with dinner, and wanting to start your own family someday makes you a disgusting and horrible human being.

Posts like this are why bloggers are not journalists.

Here’s a thought, if you’re going to write about a group of people, it might help to actually know a damned thing about your subject first. Just a tip.

1. Being childfree only means consciously deciding to never have kids. Nothing more, nothing less. If you’re chosen not to have kids, then congratufuckinglations, whether you use the label or not, you’re childfree. The individuals who make such a choice are just as diverse a group as those that choose to have kids. If you were honest, you would have recognized this and this post would either have taken a drastically different tone, or wouldn’t exist at all.

2. Not all childfree people dislike kids. Not all parents like kids. You are confusing childfreedom for pediaphobia, using a few unrepresentative quote mines. That’s just plain dishonest. You really should be ashamed of yourself for making such broad generalizations about an entire group based solely on the words of a few.

I’m a god(less)mother.

I’ve spent a great deal of my time volunteering to help kids.

3. Not that it’s wrong to dislike kids. I don’t think that there is a single human being alive who likes every other human being alive. I don’t like every adult I see. Why should I be expected to like every child? Exactly how old must someone be before I’m not automatically obligated to pretend to like them, regardless of their behavior? And if one doesn’t like kids, isn’t it better that they don’t have them?

4. It doesn’t matter if one was ever a child, it doesn’t mean they have to want or like them (which are not the same thing, as I’ve said.) Hey, this might shock you, not even all kids like other kids, certainly not every other kids they see. You’re argument is total nonsense.

5. Childfreedom is not a movement any more than parenting is. (Natalism and anti-natalism might be, but those aren’t the same thing) It’s a lifestyle decision made by individuals.

6. Childfreedom is not anti-anything. As someone who is proudly childfree, I’m not defined by what I’m not, but by what I am. I am childfree. That means that I live a drastically different life than parents. Childfee is the word for it.

Choosing to be childfree is life-affirming and positive for me.

7. I don’t know how anyone can be militantly childfree. All that means is being actively childfree. Am I militantly childfree for using birth control? Or is it publicly admitting to being childfree that makes one militant? I don’t know how anyone can be aggressively childfree, except maybe stomping their foot while buying condoms. You’re just using hyperbole, sensationalist language. I guess I’ll let that slide, only in the individual case of the person who identifies as such.

8. As for the quotes…

There WILL be a future generation. There are just too many people for all of them to be expected to choose to be childfree. However, the world is horribly overpopulated already and gets even worse with each new body. The best thing anyone can do for the next generation is limit that generation’s size. The population must be reduced to be sustainable. The person you quoted from Childfree Ghetto is not wrong.

In your second quote, you attack a person for having some optimism in their life by reminding themselves that it could be worse. Basically, you’re acting like finding comfort in childfreedom is a bad thing. That helps your argument how, exactly?

As for your third quote, the elderly do deserve special consideration because they’re less able due to their aged bodies. That’s not ageism, that’s a fucking fact. Being a mommie or a kid is not a disability, no matter how tired. There’s a big difference between being courteous to people in need, and granting privilege to people just because they breed.

I can’t discern the context of your fourth quote. Funny, an honest person would have provided that.

The next quote is even worse, as you can’t even be bothered to include the full sentence. It’s OK, unlike the link to the Childfree Gheto, which was members only, I could look up the context on Childfree Clique, which you failed to provide yourself. She was talking about a friend that changed so much after having a baby that they could no longer remain friends.

The next quote (which you didn’t quote properly, btw) is about this same person’s trepidation in becoming a close friend with someone when the same instance as before might repeat itself.

Curiously, none of this supports your insistence that childfree people hate kids, or are an anti movement.

9. You mention a person having a dislike for stay at home moms. Yeah, I can see why (barring any disability, or inability to find work, or special circumstance,) a grown adult choosing to live as a dependent long-term or permanently is kind of hard to respect. This opinion has nothing to do with childfreedom, or dislike for kids, however.

As for crying in movie theaters, I’m betting the adult made little noise in doing so. Unlike what can be reasonably expected of a kid.

10. Now the images.

The first is a bingo regularly lobbed at childfree people, but in reverse. The point, which you evidently missed, is that it’s inaccurate an unacceptable to accuse people of having pets only to make up for not having kids.

The second image, the button, is obviously a joke. Clearly, the person in question isn’t interested in becoming pregnant, and likely isn’t planning to serve toddler stew for dinner.

The third image. Yeah, as we’re not immortal, living things die. Obviously, that wasn’t the point of the quote in the image though, so I don’t know what made you think that stating that people die was relevant. The point of the quote is that just because someone can have kids does not mean that they must.

I don’t even know why you included the last comic. Were you just looking for images to pad the piece and distract from how sorely lacking in merit it is?

11. Childfree people aren’t necessarily social outcasts, but we do occasionally find ourselves faced with discrimination and judgement. Like, say, in this ignorant post, for example.

Elsewhere in this pile, you talk about childfreedom as defying biological impulses. Has it occurred to you that not everyone has a biological impulse to breed? Or that people, being intelligent beings, might be capable of reasoning that dissuades them following whatever capricious urge strikes for a moment?

It seems like a pretty misanthropic view to see a human’s only reason for existence being to breed. If that’s really what you think, then I surely pity you.

12. I’ve never head of a childfree support group, although I am aware of a number of childfree social groups. Yeah, it turns out, people sometimes like to talk and hang out with people with the same interests and who lead similar lives. There are mommy groups too, you know.

In short, I don’t think much of this piece, quite frankly. I’m not impressed by bloggers who feel the need to write about issues that they clearly don’t know jack shit about. And I REALLY can’t stand people who have to resort to blatant dishonesty to make up for their iniquity.

Going Green Fail

I love green bags. You know, those reusable cloth bags that help cut down on the  use of plastic bags? Yeah, those. Love them. I have a few, and I always mean to bring them to the store with me, although I often forget or don’t bring enough. I’m thinking that maybe I should just keep them in my car.

Not everyone understands the purpose of reusable shopping bags. For one thing, they aren’t without drawbacks. Reusable shopping bags may actually require more energy to produce than plastic bags, which means more carbon emissions. It’s my hope that in the future, methods of production will improve to remedy this. Currently, the advantage of using reusable bags to plastic bags is waste and pollution reduction. It’s worth the trade off. Plus, some stores offer discounts for people who use reusable bags, and I love to save money.

It may be because I haven’t been able to do much this week, as I’ve been recovering from surgery, that I’ve remembered this story. Some time back, while on our way up into the mountains, my BF and I stopped at a gas station to fuel up and collect snacks. As I neared the counter, I noticed green bags for sale at the counter. Having forgotten mine, I purchased one and made it the first thing I handed over to the gentleman at the counter.

I paid for my goods and was out the door. I took five steps towards the Pathfinder, looked down, and laughed. I had a plastic bag in my hand. The cashier put all of my items, including my (unpackaged!) green bag in the plastic bag. Clearly he hadn’t understood what I was trying to do here.

Lessons Learned: Lol, I guess that will show me to use clear communications rather than just assuming that other people will automatically know what I mean to do.

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