The Speck in My Neighbor’s Eye

There’s nothing like a natural disaster to make you rethink environmental issues.

I live outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where there has been severe flooding. We were lucky, but about two miles from our house, a subdivision was flooded. Our county asked residents to conserve water. Using disposable dinnerware was mentioned. Yikes. Conserve water I can do, but use disposables?

For someone who had lost everything in the flood, yes, this was a logical option. For everyone else, I wasn’t sure. The thought of all those disposables going into a landfill with all the other debris from the actual flood damage was a bit much.

Can you be eco-friendly in the midst of disaster? As someone not affected by the flood personally, it was easy for me to drive through the devastation and see what could be recycled. But as someone in the middle of a major clean-up, would I be concerned about sorting and getting the recyclables to the appropriate centers? Oh yeah, especially if I didn’t have transportation because the flood ruined my car. As an outsider, could I crusade through the community, educating people on what ruined belongings were recyclable? Unfortunately, I don’t know the answers.

But I still had to consider the water issue. Dishes were piled in the dishwasher. When baby bottles had to be washed, I also washed some dishes. Clothes piled up and some were worn more than once before going in the dirty clothes. My son has so many clothes (all given or consigned) that his didn’t need to be washed. Diapers were washed at the last minute. Baths were skipped for quick, low-flow showers. There were terms like “flood-beard” and “flood-legs” joked about on Twitter when the Nashville flood was mentioned. It was kind of cool to see how serious people were being about conserving water.

And it worked, which is why we are no longer being asked to conserve water. But I learned a lot during that time—not only better ways to conserve water, but why I should constantly work on my own creation care journey, instead of worrying about the speck in my neighbor’s eye.