Aw, poop

My dog.

My dog.

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

Aunt Ruth is nothing but slutty for a good headline, especially one that so aptly delineates the dilemma du jour. So hear her confess: She has used the plastic bags from grocery stores to clean up after her dog for years. The very ones that—like Twinkies, plastic lawn chairs, Sherman tanks—won’t biodegrade in landfills for decades. The very bags Assembly Bill 1998 sought to outlaw from California stores a few weeks back. Crises, crises, crises!

And then—drama climbing to a fever pitch—A.B. 1998 was overturned by those staunch environmentalists in the plastic-bag biz. Aunt Ruth didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, compost or walk the dog.

What’s a girl with a dog to do? We want a lower carbon footprint and to eat locavore. We want to fight climate change and Meg Whitman. We want twirly light bulbs and backyards with native plants. We want to bring our co-op groceries home in cloth bags on multispeed bikes. We want our children raised as fluent in environmental values as we were in ’60s flotsam and jetsam.

And, certainement, we’ll make mistakes. Suffer hypocrisies. Fall prey to smugnesses wide as the Capitol Mall.

In short, we’re a neurotic mess, with our shiny good intentions and to-do lists longer than any single limb dangling from our free-ranging, steroid-free bodies. And we’re scared. Scared to death of the post-climate-change world—if not for us, for the sons and daughters who want iPhones for Christmas and a future with 99-cent apps.

What now? Get a cat? Wear washable mittens, diaper the dog, walk her only in the undeveloped wilds of El Dorado County?

Of course, go to Google, where all wisdom is either arranged—or advertised—by keyword and, lo and behold, there’s a whole cottage industry (far beyond of biodegradable doggie-cleanup bags. And it is the way of the greening economy to provide too many options for consumers with a simple problem—capitalism being one strange way to clean up after a dog.

And Aunt Ruth will take a deep breath and order another product, and the environment will be a little better off. And she’ll do it again, though she knows not where or how. And that’s how the world gets better. This is what we do: Amen and ta-ta.