What does it mean to “be green” anymore?


Reuse, Recycle, Reduce. Think Green. Green is the new black. Be green. Go green. Only you can prevent forest fires. Good to be green.  And my personal favorite: Make Trees, Not War.

Remember all the slogans that came out when “being green” started to become part of our popular culture? All of the commercials, billboards, and chatter about saving our earth?  And the grass roots effort to spread the word locally, too, usually in the form of the ‘crazy, tree-hugging’ neighbor who made sure you were recycling or urging you to get rid of your gas-guzzling car or maybe even planting a tree in your yard.  But times have changed and definitions and descriptions have shifted.  Maybe it’s time you look at how you’re treating the earth, because it still needs our help and nurturing.
Chances are you are recycling, most cities have curb-side pickup, although, in some small cities you still have to take your items into the local recycling center, during certain hours and on particular days. Some urban areas now even offer compost pickup. These services are likely included in your waste bill already. I know when I lived in Seattle, all three were required and they simply charged you for the size of the container you wanted. Most car manufacturers are making more fuel-efficient and/or electric cars to attract customers all the time.  These things we now take for granted.  Do we even consider them ‘green’ anymore?  They are more the status quo than not.  And that’s not a bad thing, but we need to be doing something more.
How can we integrate more green practices into our everyday lives, like recycling or gas-efficiency, and make the earth cleaner and healthier for ourselves and future generations without much thought?  How do we make it more ordinary?  I know, I know, that’s not exciting or glamorous, everyone likes to be a hero. Think about it, how often do you do something “adventurous” – and be honest? It’s probably not as often as you’d like it to be and I’m telling you – that’s ok! We want whatever you do to be daily or even multiple times a day, something routine because it’s not just one act that’s going to help, it’s consistency.
So, what can you do today? Right now? And every day after? Maybe it’s not buying plastic bottles of water, soda, or other drinks. Maybe it’s bringing your own bags to the grocery store. Turning off lights, using less water, buying locally produced food, eating whole foods, using less/no chemicals to clean, leaving the knickknack or household item you don’t really need on the shelf,  using environmentally-friendly soaps and shampoos that go into our water supply or even a small donation to a local park or green effort.  Something mundane. Something easy. I’m not suggesting a zero waste challenge for the month (although that would be neat), think of something you do every day or nearly every day and how you can lessen your impact on the environment.  All it takes is one stone to start an avalanche.

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