She: I can talk the talk and sling the slang, but when it comes right down to it, I’m just not that green.
Z: You’re the crazy lady who brings a dozen of her own mismatched bags into Vons. What could you possibly mean?
She: There was an article in Time magazine this week about a guy who uses his own waste for composting.
Z: You don’t mean …
She: Humanure. He poops in a bucket and fertilizes the carrot patch. Ugh. The Earth could be a blackened sphere of carbon destruction, and I would still never be that green.
Z: We all have our comfort zones.
She: Pooping in a bucket is my personal Twilight Zone.
Z: That’s what I’ve always said about you.
She: You know how I used to affectionately call you buckethead? I am so sorry. So very, very sorry.
Z: Do you think this is what they’re talking about at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference?
She: It would certainly be livelier than cap-and-trade and disappearing islands.
Z: I’m probably not the greenest guy in the world, either. I use a lot of plastic bottles to drink water. I’d love to drink the tap water, but Santa Barbara’s tap water tastes like rusty socks.
She: I’ve got such a big, fat carbon footprint I drive a Mercury Grand Marquis.
Z: I’m not mellow when it’s yellow.
She: I’ve been known to put the top down in a convertible and turn on the heater.
Z: On the other hand, we do drive our cars into the ground.
She: I turn off the lights when I leave a room.
Z: We finally live in a house with insulation. President Barack Obama won’t even get the chance to weatherize us.
She: But we could use some stimulus money for solar panels, a new energy-saving laptop and a rain barrel.
Z: Maybe we’re not such Green Grinches: We have no money, live in a small house and have only one child.
She: Nothing reduces your carbon footprint like poverty and infertility.
Z: When you put it that way, it sounds so virtuous.
She: We’re good folk.
Z: Sadly, I think a lot of being green comes down to some intersection of convenience and money. If I could afford the upfront cost of a serious water filter, it would be much easier than schlepping cases from Costco.
Z: Plus, everyone still has to make their own choices. Our friend A hangs his laundry all over the inside of his house instead of using his dryer, but then jumps on a plane for a business meeting in Seattle.
She: Gee, if only he knew someone who worked at GoToMeeting.
Z: I get that hundreds of millions of people doing little things to conserve can make a huge difference — can keep new power plants from being built — but I also think that Copenhagen is hugely important for the big-picture stuff.
Z: I’m a purely practical environmentalist. Never mind global destruction — too hard to grasp. I simply don’t like breathing smog, I don’t like the sight of polluted rivers and oceans, and every time I fill up my car, I’m sending money to bad people. Please, raise my gas tax so that I’ll pollute less.
She: So no carbon halo for you this Christmas.
Z: Nah, we’ll make some green resolutions for the new year. That will be our cheap, no-footprint Hanukkah gift to each other this year.
She: Good. Because you know what I don’t want for Hanukkah? A bucket.
Z: Yes, dear.
— Share your green-living suggestions with She and Z by e-mailing email@example.com.