Thursday, February 08, 2007

What "Green" Means To Me

Lately I have been using the tag “green consumption” on some of my posts. I started wondering what that actually meant. It would probably mean different things to different people. I believe it is a practical approach to life with environmental concerns considered in every possible way. The reality is many of us live in suburbs, shop at grocery stores, have numerous appliances and enjoy most of the comforts attributed to a North American or “western” lifestyle. I think the difference is that those of us who are concerned realize that this lifestyle cannot be sustained. Many of us were comfortable living the way we were so it is difficult to change overnight. I’m of the opinion that if everyone takes small steps with an end goal of lifestyle change that we can make a huge difference. We’ve all seen the stats on how much electricity would be saved if every household used one CF light bulb or turned down the thermostat by 2 degrees. Small changes by a lot of people can go a long way.

So, my interpretation of “green consumption” or “green living” is living your life and doing what you do but considering the consequences. Not that crazy is it? Don’t leave the lights on. Buy things with less packaging. The three Rs. Composting. Cut down your driving. Solar panels. Electric cars. Organic food. Calculating your ecological footprint. Think about the future impact of what you are doing today. Consider every purchasing decision from an ecological perspective.

I think the “environmental movement” has been left out of the mainstream because of the acceptance of mass consumption combined with the thought that any changes would be so radical we would all die. Promoting practical alternatives and explaining them using the current economic framework will encourage change throughout society. Demonstrating that everyone can do it and that it is easy will generate the widespread impact that is needed to make a difference to the environment.

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