Green is simple- my frustrations

by Hannah

It really irks me that going green has become another marketing gimmick in many ways. I myself am often guilty of feeling like all my efforts towards eco-friendliness must be product-oriented. It is definitely a huge step to replace purchases of toxic and harmful items with green choices, but buying things is not the only way to be earth friendly- in fact at times all the “green choices” can be just as wasteful. It seems in our culture we do not really know how do something unless it somehow requires spending more money. Because of this, I think, a misconception has formed that it is expensive to go green, and therefore people who cannot afford organic produce and a solar energy system do not even bother.
But the people who are truly living earth-friendly “dark-green” lives- the ones creating the least amount of waste on a daily basis- often find they are also spending less. Growing your own vegetables or buying from a local farmer, using and reusing cloths instead of paper towels, making and reusing items rather than buying new as often as possible, and limiting or discontinuing use of disposables such as paper and Styrofoam plates, cups and napkins can all make a really significant difference. There is an email newsletter I receive on a regular basis that highlights greener options for various aspects of life, but it is almost always about something else to buy- from organic cotton clothing to greener dog bones to shampoo. In these economically trying times, I want to look for ways to be earth-friendly and also spend less money. It isn’t always easy to ignore the consumerism that has been ingrained in me by my culture, but I would like to begin to make my household one that wastes less and is resourceful and simpler. Out with the constant onslaught of stuff, and in with a completely new mindset concerning what it means to be green and to live within (or even below) our means. Simplicity may be pretty un-American, but it is necessary for the sake of our planet and our finances.

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