Saturday, September 6, 2008

Being Green=Consumerism on the Rise?

I think many people in our rush to be a part of this "green movement" we are forgetting some of the simple reasons why we choose to live this way. People are rushing around trying to buy hybrids or remodel their homes with eco-friendly materials or throwing out their chemically-laden cleaning supplies for more eco-happy versions.
While I applaud the desire to change, I poo-poo some of our thinking behind this.

And do you really NEED that eco-fancy-whatever item?
Is what you got good enough and have a lot of life left in it?
I think consumerism is hurting the green movement. I think we are in such a hurry to HAVE things that are eco-friendly we push aside the old for the "latest." Reality is we are not changing our habits for the better, we are only just continuing the cycle. Whether its something green or not, we're still rushing our to buy something to replace something because its NEW, its BETTER and its the LATEST. That is how our society has operated for many years in our rush to "keep up with the Jones." Now its like our rush to keep up with the Green Movement!
Sadly that means more waste and more "stuff" added to your homes.

I personally don't own a lot of "green" items because I don't see the benefit of owning something that is labeled "green" for every item I might need. Sure, I'll buy something more environmentally friendly if I need to replace something that has run out, but I tend to just reuse what is already out there before I buy brand new. I could have bought a snazzy $250 rain barrel, but instead I found one off of craigslist that someone had made themselves and didn't need anymore. Why? Because old doesn't mean bad. Just because its used it doesn't mean I'm not trying to live green.

Consider this: I typically make my own ice cream in an ice cream maker that requires electricity. Now some of you might say I should go out and buy organic ice cream from the store because ice cream makers make everything in bulk and then I won't have to waste electricity to make it and I support Organic Ice Cream Makers when I purchase their products. But for me, making 3 quarts of ice cream out of a gallon of organic milk, a container of heavy whipping cream and using my electric ice cream maker is better then driving to the store, buying the ice cream (which is in a non-recyclable or non-reusable container) driving it back home and then after finishing it I throw the container away which just goes into a landfill where it sits and sits. And if it WAS in a reusable container that typically means plastic and I put my ice cream in a glass container that I prefer putting my food in vs. in a plastic container.
See what I mean?

Sometimes you have to consider am I really being "green" by doing this or that?
Can I make it on my own?
Can I possibly make something last longer?
Or can I just do without?
Rather then running out the get the latest green object consider some of the question above. While it IS important to support people who manufacturer eco-happy items because then it creates a greater demand for it and prices can drop; what is more important is that you try to break the cycle of getting more things. Just buy things when you truly NEED them and I promise you, you'll live greener then most people.

No comments: