4 Reasons Why Green is Good, But Isn't Always Better
I'm all for taking care of the world around us. In fact, it surprises my friends and family when I share my enthusiasm for sustainability and wise use of our natural resources. Is it possible, however, that we've taken “green” issues at more than their face value? Do we accidentally limit our discernment and give false credence to anything that calls itself “globally-aware”? Of course. And here are four ways we sell ourselves short by sporting those green-colored glasses.
We give credit where it isn't due. I recently reviewed the most horrible children's book. It was pitched to me as a “green” book designed to teach children about clean habits and hybrid cars. Unfortunately, it was lame. There was an unbelievable plot, thin characters, and sub par illustrations. I tried to love this book because I believed in the values it taught, but I just couldn't get behind its credibility as a children's story. I often see other book reviewers giving this book the highest praises for its innovative approach at teaching kids green values, and I'm confused. Since when is it OK to lower our standards for an agenda (no matter how valid that agenda may be?)
We overlook other vital teachings. Before the green movement was popular in my area, we still picked up trash at the local park. We called it “being a good neighbor.” We also recycled our cans and bottles. It was considered a “good return on an investment.” We used as little water as possible, often employing rain barrels and mulch to keep our usage low. We called it “being a good steward of the resources we were given.” Today we speak of many of the same practices. We teach our children the exact same ideals, but not for the reasons we did before. Now it is “good for our earth and good for our environment.” I'll agree. I just hope that we don't forget to pass on other important life lessons because they now conveniently fall under this “eco-umbrella.”
We believe everything. The term “greenwashing” was invented for a reason. It is all too tempting to get a piece of the pie by rebranding a product or service under an earth-friendly name. Everywhere you look, big brands are switching formulas, packaging, and advertising to signal their official entrance into this global initiative. We just need to be careful who we believe. By taking the time to dig deep and evaluate each product for what it really is, we can keep our wits about us in this fast-changing world. Who knows? Maybe your old standby has actually been more “green” all along.
We become divided. I have never attended an Earth-day rally. I don't buy organic vegetables. At first glance, it would appear that I am on the other side of the fence from my more environmentally-active friends. If you took a second look, however, you would see that there are simply no Earth-day rallies near me, and the gas used to get there would be costly and wasteful. I grow my own vegetables (in an organic fashion.) I recycle what I can. I take the clippings from my neighbors and use them in my garden. I own free-range chickens and use rain water for my flowers. I'm more eco-aware than you would think, but I've just never applied the label. Most people are beginning to think like me (and like you.) We are not all that different. I don't need a t-shirt or a club to tell me that we have the same ideals and goals. Let's try to remember that “green” is less about being part of something and more about doing your part.
It's exciting to explore all the ways we can take care of our planet, and I feel encouraged to know that so many people care. Let's keep it in perspective when we move into the next few years, and remember that it's nice to feel good but it feels better to do good!