11 Things You Never Knew About Going Green
People hear about the “green” stuff all day long, but no one ever takes the time to really explain what it means. Sure, it’s about the environment and all, but it’s really much more than that. “Green” is more than saving trees or energy, it’s about a commitment to our future. To save energy, so that the generations proceeding us have plenty as we do now. To consume responsibly today, so that our children can consume responsibly tomorrow. To not forsake our future for the present. It’s all revolves around one concept — sustainability. Sustainability all revolves around one question… “Can we keep this up forever?”
And the answer to that question, at least for now, is a big fat NO. The truth is that we are consuming more than we need to. Both in terms of energy and raw materials, we aren’t making the best choices we could be. We’re using energy and raw materials that are not renewable, so once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. Sure, it works for now, but “now” won’t last for long if we keep up the pace. As our world’s population grows, the strains on its resources becomes greater, thus necessitating a new way of doing things.
So what’s stopping us? As simple as it is, you might be surprised to know — it’s you. But it’s not just you, it’s also me. It’s not even people per se, but one person who either adopts or does not adopt a new way of doing things. One person votes in an election. One person pays their fair share of taxes. One person decides that something is worth believing in. When that aggregates, you get something meaningful.
Without the one, there is none. There is no collective without the individual. You are the key. And so am I. And so are the people that we know, each and individually.
So what can you do? Share what you know but others don’t. And that’s exactly what I’m about to do. I’m going to share with you a few things that you didn’t know about “going green” in hopes to show you that it can be easier and more beneficial than you thought to “go green”…
11. It feels good to “go green.” – This one might seem obvious, but it feels good to do good. When you “go green,” you really do feel better about yourself. You’re doing your part to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
10. “Going green” doesn’t have to equate to huge personal sacrifices. – You can “go green” without having to compromise your lifestyle. You don’t have to generate your own power or sell your car to “go green” … instead, something simple like turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth or recycling and reusing containers that would otherwise go into a landfill are both great ways to make a difference.
9. It’s not about changing the world all at once. – Start small. While by themselves, little things like only running a dishwasher when it’s full or saving the excess oil from a can of tuna (Dwight Schrute from The Office on being shunned for such cause ) may seem insignificant, but when combined with other little things and when echoed by many people, it can make a huge difference.
8. Buying local is “green.” – There are a million reasons why to buy local – tighter quality control, state / county retained tax revenues, less transportation overhead, fresh goods or just plain old nostalgia. But when it gets down to it, it’s “green”, too. It equates to less trucks on the road (or planes in the air in some cases) and less preservative chemicals in our food. I think we can all agree those are both good things!
7. Using less is “green.” – This one is almost so obvious it’s not worth stating by itself, but I want to cast it in a different light than usual. I’m sure you’ve heard that less of a bad thing is a good thing. Well, the same thing applies to “going green”! This means that it doesn’t have to necessarily be related to something “green” to begin with, it just has to involve something non-green being minimized, such as using two pulls of paper towels after washing your hands instead of three. There are thousands of ways to minimize your negative impact by simply doing less!
6. You do have a vested interest in your future welfare. – A lot of people find it easy to dismiss the woes of tomorrow today. But the fact remains that tomorrow will indeed come, and you will have to bear the consequences tomorrow, whether you intended to or not. And the effects are not 1,000’s of years off, they’re much closer than we think. So it is truthfully in our own best interest to maintain a sustainable environment, not only for future generations, but also for later down the road in our own lives.
5. Our current ways are not sustainable. – The truth is that our reliance on non-renewable energy sources and landfills must eventually reach an end. Our resources are limited in those respects (and many others) and we will reach our capacity quickly if we don’t adopt new ways of getting energy and disposing of waste. For some reason, some people simply deny this fact, but you don’t need a degree in economics to understand that if a limited resource is used continually, eventually there will be nothing left.
4. People love the whole “going green” thing. – It’s true. People love it. It’s hip, it’s new. It’s almost a fad. But it’s more important than a fad — it’s a shift in both the individualist and collectivist schema of America. And the verdict is in, people think it’s cool. Whether you’re trying to increase your brand image or just impress your friends with your new eco-conscious sneakers, people are starting to hop on the bandwagon for the better.
3. Just because it says it’s “green,” doesn’t mean it is. – This is a big one. A lot of products out there make claims of “green” initiative, but the truth is that many fall short. It’s so prevalent it even has a name: “Greenwashing” and there’s even a website to track it: Greenwashing Index (http://www.greenwashingindex.com/)
2. The Technology is there. – Many people hesitate to “go green” because they feel that the technology doesn’t exist or isn’t ready to for mass market. Try telling that to the solar start-ups all over the world or the innovators of hotels that heat their water using the sun. The technology is there and waiting for you to take advantage of it. So what are you waiting for? And remember, the more people who buy in, the more competitive the marketplace, which means lower prices for all. Win-win!
1. “Going green” is not expensive. – Contrary to popular belief, “going green” does not have to cost more. Sure, there are more proactive options for which some people elect that are pricier than their conventional counterparts, but most of the time, “green” products are competitively priced, if not less overall. Through decreased reliance on limited resources that inevitably increase in cost over time, companies can offer a more competitive product at a great price as a result. Do you think that the price of the sun or wind will go up like gas has in the last 10 years?
To the contrary, as technologies continue to develop to better harness these renewable power sources, the cost of energy will go down, and the abundance of energy will go up. The economic basis of increasing prices rests largely on limited resources — as a limited resources depletes in supply, demand being constant or rising, the price of a particular good will rise. If you cleave the “limited” from that sentence, it vastly changes the economic pretext. Applied to a rapidly and exponentially growing population, this means that “going green” could be just the thing to save the world from quickly rising prices of goods and also result in an increase in overall production to make necessary goods more available to those who would otherwise be unable to afford them.
The bottom line is that “going green” is good for you, good for others, and good for the environment. It leads to a lesser dependence on quickly vanishing limited resources, and will help to control energy costs in the long-term. So whether you’re doing it for the PR, for your fellow human, or for yourself, go ahead and do it. 20 years from now, you’ll be glad you did.