As you all well know, “Green” has been a very popular buzz word the last few years. But what does it mean, really? It has morphed into so many possible meanings that it’s hard to tell what it really stands for. It can mean almost anything like driving a car that gets good gas mileage (even if it’s not a hybrid), buying “green” products (that may only have a little bit of recycled materials but are just like the next). It can also mean non-environmental things like envy and money, and just a color. The “Green” stamp has been pressed onto products to make them seem “better” but are they? I think that it’s a marketing ploy in a lot of aspects, and things that are “Green” are really just only partially recycled, kind of organic, or a small percentage re-used in some way. But I still think the little bit is better than nothing. So almost anything can be called “Green.” Here’s what I think it means:
- Design: I’d like to think I’m a fan of “Green” design. In my own opinion that means designing with antiques, using paints that have low or zero Volatile Organic Compounds, and emit little to no odor. I like to think it’s decorating with what you already have, buying second hand, and finding antiques and going to garage sales instead of buying new, when you can. I mean, i’m not about to buy a used couch (you don’t know what’s happened on there…) But bring on the used drop leaf table for only $25 at the local garage sale! I absolutely love the shows “Redesign” and “Free Style” for many reasons. They are all about spending little money and using little to no resources to create something beautiful.
- Living: I think you can make small changes to live a “Green”-er life, but it’s near impossible to make 100% changes. You can ride your bike to work instead of drive your car, (but what if it rains?) You can bring your own grocery bags to the store. You can use energy efficient light bulbs, (where they fit. I personally like the color of incandescents and some fluorescents don’t fit in my lamps.) Recycle! It doesn’t take much, sort your recyclables from your regular trash, and put them in the recycling bin! Invest in a reusable water bottle. Clean with organic cleaners to help the environment. Conserve water, when not needed (like turning off the sink while brushing the teeth, and I try to play music when I shower and see if I can make it out before 2 songs are done.) A favorite resource: http://www.re-nest.com/ This site has some GREAT ideas. Check it out.
- Shopping: I love to shop second hand. I’m not afraid to wear someone else’s gently used sweaters and jeans (once washed.) Buying cloths made of cotton instead of some itchy odd un-pronounceable blend helps too. Getting appliances that sport the “Energy Star” logo will save you time, energy, (water in some cases) and money. Items at the local store may also say “Green” or “Organic” on them when it comes to household and cleaning products. I opt for those. They are better for your lungs and the earth, (but maybe not your wallet…)
- Eating: I have recently become a vegetarian and think that helps me live a little more green. I’m not eating animals, for one. And it’s better for my health. I try to buy Organic food, when applicable, since not everything is available organic. I would buy local and fresh all the time, but let’s face it- it’s a little out of my price range, and can get kind of expensive for anyone if done on a regular basis. There are also restaurants that have Organic and Local food options, if you just ask.
So there. Being “Green” is mostly common sense, and making those changes can help the earth. Little by little if we all make choices to be more efficient we can insure this planet will be here, and cleaner for our children, and their children… and so on. True, some products can cost more up front, but in the long run can save us money. Sorry Kermit the Frog, I have to disagree… It is easy being “Green”.