12 October 2007

Going Green?

What is green? Growing up 'green with envy' was a common phrase. 'That made me green' was something that made you ill, right? Not anymore... Green has become the latest marketing wonder. It started out harmless enough. Encouraging you to recycle, and ride your bike or use public transportation. Then it caught. Resources we have all grown dependent on are showing signs of decline and the environment is changing. The climate is right for... Green... and it is reaching epidemic proportions. Take the article entitled 'Is God Green?' that ran in USA Today, or one of the dozens of other Green articles in magazines and newspapers today. You can buy green products, have a green wedding, or take a green vacation. The food you eat is green, right? I must confess our shop has even used the slogan- Go Green, Get Green, Save Green.
But what is Green?
IMHO-Green should not be harmful to the environment start to finish.
Unfortunately a much more selective or narrowed sense is more frequently adopted. Take cotton. There couldn't be more green product. It is a natural fiber. Grown locally, and spun into comfortable, durable wears. That is, until you take into consideration the pesticides used on the fields, the oil run equipment used to harvest and process the cotton, the chemicals and bleaches used to clean and prep the cotton, the dyes and chemical washes used in the process, and the warehousing and transport of said goods... Forget anything produced in China, or any other country half way around the world. The transport alone nullifies any Green claim. I saw an energy comparison between someone riding their bicycle to work versus them driving. The caloric requirement, and the resources needed to produce that requirement was a greater energy than the gas you'd need in the car. This is a great argument for driving some would say. But while the energy requirement for that one activity may have been in favor of the automobile, it does not account for the other resouces or energy requirements that came in to play making and maintaining the vehicle, or the effects of the waste products on the environment.
It is important to look at your daily life and see if there are ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle. I do think there is value in buying 'green' products, and in being 'green' activity-wise, but be wary of the real value of the green you are buying in to.

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