Archive for the ‘Non-disposables’ Category

What does it actually mean to be ‘Living it Green’?

To me, there are many shades of Green ranging from the uber-dark Green (live in an eco-village in a house with compacted dirt floors, growing your own food, composting everything, eating raw vegan , not owning a car, using electricity that’s not solar powered or using motorized transport) to light pale Green (recycling, using reusable bags and trying to sleep without air conditioning), and a whole bunch of shades in the middle.

Me, I think I’m apple green.  But I’m aiming to try to get to grass green by the end of the year.

Everyone has different passions, different comfort levels and different values.  To me, on a practical basis I know I can’t move to an eco-village or a commune in Australia.  I know I need motorized transport (let’s face it, it just wouldn’t be done for me to bicycle to work with my briefcase strapped to my bike, dodging traffic and risking life and limb!).  I know I need electricity – because how else would I work at night or even be writing this on my laptop?

The things that I do that are green happen mostly in my head.  It’s all about awareness – awareness of the footprint we leave and about the consequences of our actions.  Although I will still occasionally use a plastic bag, it’s always in my head “there’s another resource I used that I didn’t need to”.  When I drive in my car and look at fellow travelers stewing in their solitary cars stuck in the same traffic jam, I think “traffic would be so much better if more of us had car-pooled, if public transport were more useable”.  And eventually, maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually, I will get so sick of thinking this thought that I will finally do something about it.

That’s the real crux of truly Living it Green. To be aware of our impact of the world, instead of mindlessly wandering through a life of aimless and pointless consumption.

Think about how so much of how we live our lives is habit.  We’re just used to taking that extra plastic bag at the supermarket, used to buying that can of dog food and leaving appliances plugged in when we’re not at home.

How hard is it to change these learned habits?

Often all it takes is one step in the greener direction.  Using a funky envirosax shopping bag for example, and saying no to the plastic bag.  Suddenly, you’re already aware of waste that you said no to.  And you feel good, which is one of the best things of making that step – feeling good that something is not wasted.  It’s such a cheap and easy way to feel good about oneself, it’s a wonder not more people do it.

Just one little step towards doing something a little out of habit is usually all it takes.  Before long it will seem downright strange to be carrying a single use plastic bag, and distasteful to have to use a Styrofoam container to carry your lunch 500m to be eaten.


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The story of stuff got me freaking out. And when I say that I mean FREAKING OUT.

It’s a very fun and easy to understand clip (it’s 20 minutes long and a bit of a bitch to download. I’d think about buying a DVD but then it’s more acquisition of STUFF which the clip is trying to say we shouldn’t do… bit of a quandry there), but it’s definitely freak out material.

I think it puts a finger on why I’m no longer enamored of being part of today’s consumer society. I have a MOUNTAIN of stuff already and most of it is never really used – especially electronic equipment.

On the other hand, I think what the economy would be like without the consumer society – would we all still be living in kampongs and our children playing with empty half coconut shells, sticks and stones? Would that really be such a bad thing? My dad grew up in something that was almost a kampong. He seemed to enjoy it. Meanwhile my friends’ kids now freak out about putting their *gasp* bare feet on sand.

Hmmm. Food for thought.

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