Sep 5, 2012

Green University - How Do You Go Green?

A lady friend asked me the other day, "I hear all this talk about going Green but I never hear the steps one should take to go Green."

Since we're a Green Products Webstore, the Conserv-A-Store, it really falls to folks like us to establish a protocol for Going Green. In this edition of our Green U series we will begin to investigate just how one, "Goes Green"

The best place to start is always with a definition. Here are some we found on the web:

  • Environmentalism is a broad philosophy and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the state of the environment. Environmentalism and environmental concerns are often represented by the color green.

  • A phrase referring to individual action that a person can consciously take to curb harmful effects on the environment through consumer habits, behavior, and lifestyle.

  • a lifestyle that consists of helping reduce that individual’s negative impact on the environment.

  • Adopting practices that reduce your overall impact on the environment. These may include reducing your energy usage, recycling, using public transportation, buying local products, and/or designing, remodeling, or buying a home that is more energy efficient.

Guess the Greenest Person on Earth would be able to lead a no Impact Life from an early age and hope that he/she had parents that reared them from birth with a life of recycled huggies and second hand baby's clothes so they made no impact until they had their own free will

Yes it is difficult living a life of zero impact since we need to eat and be clothed and be housed and be transported and most of these things involve waste to produce and maintain the service or good rendered in the current human society and economy.

Many say the new Green is really Going BLUE whereby you leave the Earth in a better state than how you found it. So if Mom and Dad did not recycle the huggies and fed you only ground  beef from ages 5-15 you can still make amends and leave as a net contributor to Green making you really BLUE
(One journalist criticizes those attempting to make Blue the new Green by saying Blue reminds us of our water woes-here's more)  

We remember when we first went to a massive Costa Rican rain forest and were told by the guide to not take anything in that you did not expect to take out. Oddly we first realized how hard this was when we unconsciously expectorated our chewing gum, as we do every day while driving in the urban world, into the woods. The guide was not too happy. See it's very hard even for those of us who try hard to be Green to not leave some imprint on the Earth. What about the very successful industrialist with 5 kids, 4 cars, a 10k sq ft primary home, a personal jet, 2 vacation homes. Think of the Costa Rican moments they have but do not even think about.

Green is really the realization and respect that humans are not those for whom the Earth was made. There are millions of other plant and animal species that may never know a human and really want the Earth there to service their own needs. Living in urban environments, with limited access to nature outside of a housepet or the birds in the yard, this may be hard to do.

 Generally we feel the urban environment although availing to economies of scale that perhaps are really Green teach the average urbanite to disconnect from the non urban world. The traditional urbanite may visit the park down the street sometime but has very little understanding of how their goods and services arrive at their local grocery or the arduous polluting steps to drill and transport the oil they put in their car. They really take it all for granted. Perhaps the best thing teachers and parents can do to their kids is to get them out of the urban setting to see how the rest of the world operates and how being Green really requires removing one self at least spiritually if not physically if you can afford it from the "Easy to live" society and arduously questioning the life cycle of every consumer choice in your life.

We suppose the best way to look at Green from a human perspective is to do a Green Self Assessment

Why don't you begin by keeping a log or diary for a month and make references to practices you changed or could change with the Costa Rican rain forest scenario mentioned above of only bringing to the Earth table what you brought at birth and that is your naked body. So everything else requires use of some Earth resource.

Your Green Diary

Here are some categories your Green Self Assessment can be based on

Breathing takes oxygen but does generate carbon dioxide which is positive for the plant kingdom.

Eating really could be a Green exercise if the food is grown from seed, sustainably fertilized and watered, eaten, disposed of with greywater and hard waste recycling, and composting.

Clothing can be an easy Green purchase if you buy largely sustainable cotton, hemp, and materials that are natural . Here's a Green Clothing manifesto to guide you toward Green Clothing

Transportation can be more difficult. If you walk everywhere the way man has done for centuries, guess you would be very Green. Biking is green transportation. When you involve a motor you definitely get more range and speed but you introduce pollution. From flying to even bus and train travel you are sharing the cost of pollution but there is still the environmental cost of involving a non sustainable resource, oil and gas, in your tonic of transport.

Entertainment can be very green. If you read an ebook from the library that is recycled many times then you're on the right track. However it's doubtful that the e-reader itself was manufactured in a green method. Sex, a form of entertainment, should be a Green activity as long as numerous off spring do not result. Futbol is surely the most popular world sport and maybe the Greenest. You have 22 people kicking a single ball on grass.

Housing can be Green but it usually costs a lot to make it Green. You can align with a Green architect and building engineer to make your home the Greenest possible but you will be usually adding an additional up to 40% more for the techniques such as high SEER A/C and heating, solar electric, lowest flow plumbing, etc to make the home Green. Sadly the newest track home built in a USA subdivision is maybe a bit Greener than 30 years ago but still has a way to go.

Work we guess depends on what your work is. Are you an oil driller? Well you are providing a service that the world economy values quite a bit now but you are a large polluter. Are you an office worker? We guess that can be Green as long as your paper waste is recycled. Are you a farmer?
Again a very important contributor to society but if you are a large commercial farmer who uses many additives to the soil and does not grow organically, you probably have a way to go to be considered Green.

Green should really be viewed as a way of life that benefits the totality at the expense of the individual as respects resource consumption. Try to live with as little as you need rather than stocking the closets(not just clothes) with a bunch of stuff you will use 5 times in your life.

Our intent is to eventually write an ebook on "How one would live a Green Life" from birth to death.  This blogpost will be the basis of that book so we will update this blogpost often not only to keep it fresh with the latest technologies but to add new ideas we surface as the ebook unfolds.

We do run a Green Products webstore, the Conserv-A-Store, from which we generate income to live so we would welcome you visiting our store on occasion and purchase items you feel will make your life more Green.

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