But who is not “green” these days and what does it mean? Thirty years ago the only people who were “green” were called “tree huggers” and many were regarded as people who only cared about trees.
Fast forward to the 21st century and everyone wants to be so green! It is the new catchphrase. Car companies are green, manufacturers, corporations, foundations, airlines, water and people are all green.
When did everyone become so green?
I was in a sandwich shop the other day and there was a sticker on their door noting they have replaced one incandescent bulb in each of their 20,000+ stores with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL). Good for them, they are now green! Next step? Replace two, and then offer your customers a coupon for doing the same.
You see, being green is not about making one change; it should be about invoking change for the better.
Solar, Wind, Carbon Offsets – all large scale changes and all a bit confusing on how to use them and how they work. Change a light bulb, conserve water, recycle paper, recycle aluminum, recycle plastic, and turn your AC up one degree or your heat down one degree – all very easy to do. Small scale? Not when you consider there are 4 million people living in the Greater Houston area.
Some very simple steps we made in the home which are also saving us money every month:
- Changed our incandescent bulbs to CFLs. CFLs are much improved over the past years and the price has come down dramatically. One bulb can last 3-5 years and we would pay twice that replacing each incandescent 1-2 times a year regardless of the electric bill.
- Thermostat up, thermostat down. 70-72 in winter, 78 in summer.
- Turn off the TV and Cable box at night or when we are not going to be home.
- Switched to an energy provider with wind and hydroelectric energy choices. This took 10 minutes of our time to do, and our electric bill costs came down right away.
- No more plastic water bottles. The plastic is not good for you and the water is potentially not as healthy as filtered water can be. Did we mention 1.5 million barrels of oil are used in the US alone to make those plastic water bottles? More than 20 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills or incinerators every year as well.
Two more quick thoughts:
No more plastic bags at the grocery store. Fabric, cloth, reusable bags all work fine. America uses 90 billion plastic bags a year. Most end up in those same landfills and incinerators. Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have banned them, China has restrictions on their use and a number of cities in the US are following suit. Clearly, some communities were tired of all the plastic bags ending up in their waste streams.
Styrofoam containers. Really? You still use these? They are made with petroleum, toxic chemicals can leach out of them when heated, and they do not break down in the environment. Styrofoam cups and take out containers are convenient but unnecessary with so many other products on the market.