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What Going Green SHOULD Mean

Perhaps you’ve read my ramblings on how I’m glad that “green” is the new trendy movement. I’m glad that it’s gaining exposure, but it takes much more than a label and a few pretty faces to make a difference.

As reader spencerlindsay said, the dilution of the green movement by companies claiming this product and that product as “green” can be simply ludicrous at times. Seriously…the Chevy Tahoe as green? And has anyone seen the ridiculous Hummer ads claiming they’re more green than the Prius? Simply putting “green” on something does not make a product good for the environment. Where is the change? WHY is it green?

One thing we as consumers have to do is reduce consumption and waste. Recycling is fine and all, but it still takes energy to recycle the products and many times it still ends up as waste anyway. If we consume less (I forgot the statistics, but the amount of waste that each American generates is staggering) then there will be less trash to haul (saving gas as all these garbage trucks come by hauling away our trash), slower filling of the landfills (we’ve got limited land space…and we’re filling it with trash? WTF?), and less energy being used by creating all this packaging. I saw one comment that said something to the effect that if the rest of the world used as many resources as the U.S. and Canada, we would need two more planet earths. That’s just plain scary.

I think of this trash thing every time my roommate goes away on a trip. While she was gone for a week I filled maybe 1/8 of the trash can. Within half a week of being back in town we had already filled one can and were almost half way through the next can. This isn’t the only roommate that I’ve noticed this with though. It’s a widespread problem that most people don’t even think of and it’s way too easy to dismiss in our cozy ways here in the States. Emphasis is put on ease-of-use with everything pre-packages in individual packets and such. The ironic thing is that we usually pay a premium for this individual packaging, so in essence we’re paying more money to fill our landfills quicker. Nice.

I was just about to say “It’s not going to be easy for us to change our ways”…but you know what? It really can be. Sure, we’ve gotten lazy as a society and have come to rely on certain comforts in life but it doesn’t have to be a momentous undertaking to do do our part. If you really do find it THAT hard make these changes, then start small. It’s possible, it really is. If your coffee shop serves coffee in your own mugs, bring it. You usually get a discount anyway for doing that, plus you’re reducing waste. If you buy just one item at a store and can carry it out, skip the bag. If you can take your plastic grocery bags back to the store to be collected, do it. You’re going to the store anyway, right? Plus they’re not that heavy. See…start off small…it’s easy. Then go ahead and trade in that gas-guzzling SUV for something a bit more economical if you want. For now…I think we should focus on reducing the waste we are already putting out there and we can go from there.