Archive for November, 2007

November News

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

What does “green” really mean?

Lately, it is hard not to notice that “going green” has become trendy. We see this in advertisements, promotions and claims for products, services, and people saying that they too are “green”. While some of these claims are sincere and honest, it is hard not to be skeptical. After all, what exactly does “green” mean anyway?

For those of us who had environmental convictions prior to this trend, this latest fad can be confusing and even disturbing. If a celebrity can “go green” by wearing a tee-shirt with a slogan and buying organic pet clothes, what does that say about us and our efforts? It is hard to fight the urge to be cynical. However, isn’t it all progress no matter where it comes from and for what reason?

To me, the difference is in sacrifice. The small simple things that we can do certainly have an impact. Recycling, being mindful of excess energy consumption, or reusable shopping bags are painless steps in the right direction. Still, as a society, if we are to make significant changes, we all need to cross out of our comfort zone from time to time. This is easily seen in what we purchase. Sacrificing price for quality is not always easy for the average family. Choosing to buy only trusted organic produce or refraining from purchasing cheap clothing and toys shipped from Asian sweatshops takes money, research, and time.

Upon thinking of ways to further reduce my family’s impact this month, I decided to try a “no driving day”. Of course, initially, I tried to come up with a day when this would be convenient because we don’t have to go anywhere. After realizing that this would be an obvious cop-out, I chose Friday, November 23 (the day after Thanksgiving). We had already planned to drive to Seattle Center for Winterfest to see the model train display and to take Jack and Amelia ice-skating and then to drive to visit friends there. So….it looks like we will be taking the bus.

Instead of having a group activity this month, I would like to encourage all of you to have give up your cars for the day.  If this is too easy of a challenge for the “greenest” amongst us, choose a different family sacrifice. Preferably, one that makes you squirm a little. Please share your thoughts, ideas and experiences on the online forum. I am also interested in hearing your views on what “green” really means. I look forward to hearing from you!