July 24, 2007

How to Be Greener

the green book
Before I say anything, let me admit that aside from a brief stint in 3rd grade when my favorite t-shirt said, “Love the Planet — It’s the Only One We’ve Got” and had a recycling party for my 10th birthday, and then again in high school when I went through a real granola phase that involved a lot of tie-die, I’ve never been very environmentally-minded. This is shameful, of course, especially because my reason for thinking that I didn’t care was probably because it wasn’t “glamorous.”

But as it is wont to do, the media machine has been working on me these last six months as everyone from Domino to Readymade has rolled out their green issue. Suddenly people who have never thought about green concerns find global awareness really hip. Of course, if you have long been a champion of sustainable resources, local produce, composting and the like, this is probably annoying to you. And I can totally understand that.

But the good news is, if it’s working on me, it’s working on other people. Thanks to the very nifty The Green Book a friend gave me, I’ve been making the kind of small changes that are inconsequential to me but could have lasting environmental impact if other people them up, too. I’ve stopped taking receipts from the ATM. I turn off the water while I brush my teeth. I registered online to stop getting all that damn junk mail. Since I will probably never be a vegan or entirely off the grid, tiny tips like the ones in The Green Book have got me behaving better. And not only is it totally painless, but in our very me-me-me culture, we would all be better off spending some time thinking about our global community. And, of course, there are far impactful ways of doing that that unplugging the tv when the Sopranos is over. But hopefully this is just the beginning.

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  • Anita: I’ve never read the book, but looking back over the years, I have realized that I’ve been green without even trying. I buy my milk in glass jars that I return to be washed and used again,(I get a 30cent rebate too). I nursed and used cloth diapers when my children were babies, I don’t buy paper napkins, I make my own. And I use my clothe grocery bags, not because they are green, but because I think it’s cool to use cloth grocery bags. I’m weird that way. I also reuse my jars and food containers for other things, and my family of four lives in a 900 square foot home. We recycle our clothes and shop yard sales and thrift stores more then buy new, and we have reusable water bottles and lunch boxes and containers. But we do all this to keep our life cheap, not necessarily to be green. Ummm, maybe being green isn’t a bad idea after all, especially when it comes to the pocket book.
    10 years ago

  • Sarah: Anita, Yes! I love where green and thrifty overlap! You deserve a major prize for all your penny-pinching, earth-saving efforts!
    10 years ago

  • Marli: Sarah. I am like you having heard all the warnings yet still unable to give up my 4Runner or go to the store and buy those compact flourescent light bulbs. I am not an awful person insisting on increasing her carbon footprint. I have found a great online source for people like you and me.


    They offer small daily tips (with archives of course) on how to be green. You can even sign up for a daily email to make it more convienent for yourself. The site sends a great message of “no one expects you to do it all… just do what you can.” I love that.
    10 years ago

  • Sarah: Great resource, Marli. I think I will sign up for those daily emails — thank you.
    10 years ago

  • miquette: this is perhaps one of my favorite POP blogs to date…i love it when everyday good living and everyday green living collide (probably because I’m from Humboldt county, where it happens all the time). I did want to share two AWESOME websites for those that love both fashion and green living: mooshoes.com has vegan shoes that are actually really cute and not orthopedic looking, and nosweatapparel.com for hip clothes/shoes made without sweatshop labor. also, i noticed that nylon mag has had a lot of regular features on green designers…thanks for the great post sarah!
    10 years ago

  • Sarah: Miquette, Long time no see! Really glad to hear that you liked this post.
    10 years ago

  • Alexandra: I have been green my entire life (all 28 years). My mum used cloth diapers on mayself and my siblings. We composed made our own bread, jam, pickles, apple sauce, etc. most of which we gre ourselves I love my dads strawberry Jam it is to die for. We have been recycling from day one as well as use energy saving appliances, windows, insulation, and roofing. to me going green is second nature.
    I have also started my co-workers into recycling.

    thank you for puting GREEN outthere in a non Fad way that is easy for others and is not a Bandwagon jump.

    10 years ago

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