It has been a while since I have felt compelled to blog about Craig and Layla Baird, the authors of the “Our Green Year” blog. They finished their ‘green year’ back in April and since then most of their posts centre around them receiving media attention or blogging about green solutions that require a great deal of resources.
My main beef with this blog has always been the assumption of privilege. In the beginning almost all of their green ‘tips’ were only possible because they worked from home. You can read about these ‘tips’ in other entries (see below). When I challenged Craig on this observation (and others as well, he took offence). When you work from home, in a rural area and you don’t have to commute you have a lot more time to do ‘green’ things. Many of the things they suggested also took a very ableist tone. Early on there was a post about how healthy it was (not to mention good exercise) to mow one’s law with a push mower. I got seriously annoyed when Craig pontificated about the benefits of manually breaking up ice and snow. Much of the blog took an elitist, ableist and privileged point of view.
Another major issue I had with this blog was the lack of critical thinking. At one point, Craig and Layla decided to ban all things “Albertan” (see some of the entries below for more on this). They did this because of the Tar Sands. They were not quite sure how this would work as they had family in Alberta. Later on they made a big announcement about how they were now moving to Alberta and they commented (on the original entry, in red no less) that they were moving to Alberta and they thought it was a good thing because Alberta really needed to hear their message. I am sure that many ‘green’ Albertans must have taken offense to this self-aggrandizing statement. Now arrogance has been added to the mix.
At the end of their ‘green year’ they committed to posting once a week on their green activities. They have not really managed to meet their goal of posting weekly. One of their favourite things to blog about now is when they are ‘featured’ somewhere whether it be at a childrens’ event, being featured as part of the ’50 most influential people in Alberta, and a couple of weeks later announcing to us that they had been featured on Alberta Primetime on Access as being two of the most influential people in Alberta. Now it seems that most of their posts centre around other people realizing the wonder that is Craig and Layla Baird.
The only reason I can think of for them getting this kind of attention is that people are not really reading what they put together in their blog. Seriously folks, these people use coffee grounds to wash with, think nothing of peeing on ‘the ranch’, and banning places of which they are now considered ‘influential’ people.
Let’s not forget the whole reason for this enterprise – they plan to write a book. They also state loud and clear on their blog that they are happy to do speaking engagements. I guess when you are chasing the bucks, accountability can be sacrificed.
The last couple of posts have really annoyed me. I will be the first to admit that at times I can be petty. But as far as I am concerned if you are going to hold yourselves up as knowledgeable about everything ‘green’ one might expect that you actually have some knowledge. Craig recently posted an entry which was a video tour of his garden (boring) or at least it was until he referenced his many ‘species’ of pumpkins. I almost fell off my chair in fits of laughter.
On July 7, 2009 Craig posted, perhaps, his most privileged post to date. Entitled “A very Green Way to Mow the Lawn” it sports a picture of a beautiful horse eating the grass. I am not even sure where to start on this one. This post has very little relevance to your average person. How many of us could afford to have the land required and the horse to put on it to mow the lawn in this manner? Is it even green to keep livestock like cows and horses? They consume a great deal of food and produce a lot of manure and methane gas. They can only forage (mow the grass) for a short time every year. The rest of the year they must be kept in barns (no doubt heated barns as the Bairds live in Central Alberta) and they must be fed. How much energy and fossil fuels goes in to growing and transporting the feed for the Barid’s livestock?
This again raises my point about critical thinking. These two are incapable of analyzing what they are doing and seeing the consequences (sometimes the unintended consequences). If you are new to my blog, you may ask why I don’t ask them my questions directly. I used to post comments to their blog and ask questions, make remarks about ableism, pointed out how they were privileged and how they were also hypocritical. They eventually decided I was too ‘combative’ and they banned me from making comments.
One of their favourite arguments to throw at me was to say that at least they were doing green things and to question what I was doing. Quite the pathetic thing to say when you have nothing else to come back with. I am all for doing what we can to mitigate our damage to the planet while we are here. I have no need to list the things that I do or do not do. Suffice it to say, I work at it.
In my opinion, the Bairds are jumping on the green bandwagon (I hope it is being pulled by a green energy source). They accept everything they perceive to be a ‘green act’ at face value and they rarely (if ever) delve any deeper. I find this quite sad as they are squandering an opportunity to do something really good.
*H/T to Wandering Coyote for the inspiration for the title.