Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Don't ignore the green noise in the background

Since Aviva moved in last fall, we have gradually begun to make a series of changes that one might see as the greening of our lives (if that is an actual word). Those changes have sped up a bit of late, owing mostly to the books we are reading ... our latest effort is the purchase of Shaklee cleaning products and non-chemical sunscreens and make-up (Burt's Bees's anyone) to lower our pollution footprint and reduce the chemicals we are exposed to ... because when you start to look into the ingredient lists on food and hygene products its pretty scary, and very strange (I mean did you know there is corn, zea mays, not corn oil or some corn derivative but actual corn, in Right Guard? I am not sure if it matters that I am using corn as an anti-perspearint, but it is odd).

I have always wanted to live greener, and it seems ironic to me that I had to move away from California to do it. After all, California is the capital of green and organic, sometimes it seems like just by living there your life has almost less impact on the environment (it just seems that way, living sustainably generally requires work). When you look around and listen, you begin to see that there is a ton of important information about environmentally sustainable living all around ... and I think it is so prominent, and crucial and important and in your face that it becomes easy to ignore and often fades into the background. But our lives, particularly here in the US, are having a massive impact on the world, and its important that we recognize that and try to do something about it.

If you don't believe me go here and figure out your own carbon footprint, or listen to environmental podcasts like the ones from Grist or NPR, or read books like Omnivores Dilemma and Green Goes with Everything ... this second book is a bit more hokey, and a lot of times it feels like an infomercial, but I have followed up a lot of the statements in the book and they are all factual and relatively accurate ... I say relatively because it seems that nothing in the environmental science discussion is without debate. Or most importantly, listen to the hundreds of stories and articles and podcasts and other sources of information, and make little changes in your life. W

What you will find out is that sustainability and environmentally sound living practices are not just politically correct terms or popular jargon, they signify a wealth of knowledge and information that, if heeded, can change not just the lives of you and your family, but of everyone around you. Admittedly, you cannot change the world alone, but you can take some small steps, fight some small battles and make a small difference. And if someone sees you doing it, or asks you about it, or is inspired by you or is just affected positively by the changes you have made then you have made a bigger difference, and maybe one that will continue to grow on its own.

Honestly, I think you have probably all heard things like this before, use cloth bags when you shop, turn off lights in other rooms, get longer lasting light bulbs, buy things locally, buy things with less packaging, don't eat this fish because it is overfished, etc ... the point is, you already know how to be greener, you have been hearing it for years. Don't let the constant green noise drown out the need to follow some of the advice ... don't worry if you can't do everything all at once or even ever. Start by changing one light bulb or not putting your apples in a plastic bag the next time you go to a grocery store, anything helps and you might be surprised ... being "green" could grow on you :)

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