Living for a Difference
By now, the movement to "living green" is a measurable fad. But is it a real movement that is, well, sustainable? To be sure, the marketing hype pushing the idea of humans living in pristine cities and using products packaged in indefinitely recyclable materials has reached a fevered pitch. Seeing the greater good is pretty easy but seeing the path is often the obstacle.
Everyone is earth-friendly, right?
If each of us could truely see the delicate balance that is nature then the need for marketing the idea of green living would be non-existent! After all, we would all be careful to choose products and services that served our needs or interests without harming our environment.
But alas, the marketing is plentiful and the reason for this pervasive message is that there are many who are not clear on this issue. So to aid the dialog, this section has been prepared to discuss a few key areas every person is able to participate and truly make progress in the effort of going green.
Let's define going "green"
To go green has about as many definitions as people have personalities! If the goal of establishing a green lifestyle is about being healthier, great! If it is more about respecting the delicate natural ecosystem, fantastic! If it is about reducing pollutants and getting the goop out of water supplies and the air, we are all really talking about the same thing. Whatever motivates each of us to arrive at the point of realization that we can and should seek products and services that serve the interest of our environment as well as ourselves is irrelevant! That we begin to understand this is just plain smart is what is relevant. So the universal definition may sound somthing like this: The Green Lifestyle is a mindset that encourages consumers to actively pursue manufacturers and distributors which provide earth-conscience goods in order that the general marketplace develops or redevelops goods in such a way that they are in harmony with the ecosystem from manufacture to disposal.
What can I do?
As suggested by our definition above, each of us has a very real effect on the products that appear on the market. Regardless of what you happen to be shopping for, knowledge is critical to making the best green decision. Informing oneself is the single most effective step everyone can take! It is free to ask questions, listen to news reports or simply talk with friends and neighbors about the many ways others have found to join the Green Lifestyle!
Taking inventory is another highly effective exercise anyone can do today. Simply browse through the house, office, dorm room, church, even common areas around apartments and municipal settings and think of the ways you can make positive changes. It is about encouraging people, including family members, with creative ways to solve problems. Don't be critical since this rarely solves anything! Instead, search for solutions by using your resources, such as the internet, and gather tips. Always be sure to put the information you collect to the "common sense" test! Remeber, many people, including big companies, are looking for ways to make money by marketing and selling green products. Your dollars, when wisely spent, let companies know they are on the right track. Conversely, whe we are not informed shoppers, we send the wrong message to companies who might need to change their products to truely be green.
The problem seems so big, and I am only one person
When an issue as broad as the environment is discussed it can be overwhelming to think about how many people need to get on the same page to make a difference. Before the towel is thrown in consider, sweeping changes are not the normal course of action in a capitalist economy like ours. Instead, strides are made when an idea gains favor in the eyes of the individuals across our nation. We know too that our nation is deeply influential to the world at large but it all starts in the living rooms and kitchens and garages and dorm rooms of the everyday American citizen! Ironically, not many issues rest so fully and tangibly with each and every American as the issue of the environment.
To further this point, let us consider two cases: The People's Republic of China and Apple Computers. In the case of China, we are witnessing the same sort of industrial boom that Americans saw right here in the USA at the turn of the last century. The need to progress in industrial terms trumps the need to develop technology in environmental terms. While many products are developed, most in China are just beginning the ascent out of poverty so simple items are luxuries and only the bare essential industrial tools are affordable. Moreover, the ability to purchase new, environmentally responsible products is a very distant second to old, less responsible technology.
Regarding Apple Computers, let us consider the ability for the American consumer to power a product, even an entire niche industry, to dizzying heights in a few short years!
It turns out that the most pressing areas of opportunity are the things we do daily! While the greater goals for a green lifestyle are the environment overall, it starts with each of us to positively impact our immediate environment. Wherever we go: work, school, dorm room, Tonot take action is to allow our own families and homes to be at risk! But what are those risks, and more importantly, what are the costs of removing them?