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The Cost of Conservation

>> Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It seems everywhere you look these days, someone is touting a new easy way to be green. These pushes to be green seem to crop up once every 15 years or so. Just think back to the early 90's when Captain Planet ruled the airwaves and everyone wanted to be an eco-warrior. I even had a Little Archie comic where he started recycling at his school and roller-bladed as many places as he could. McDonald's gave out tree seedlings with their meals. I got paid for my cans. Then it disappeared for a bit it seemed.

There were those of us that never backed down from being "tree-huggers" but most everyone else dropped it like it was a passing trend. This green trend, probably to do with the plethora of information (and misinformation) at our fingertips, seems to be taking a stronger hold.

While many people seem to really want to make a difference, there are still lots of people that feel that certain things are more of a headache than it's worth. Remembering to carry extra bags to the store is something everyone tries to do and most fail at. A clip on bag helps. Buying 100% recycled toilet paper is a little more expensive and a bit unrealistic during these hard economic times. Contributing to the WWF or the NWF is not an option for those pinching pennies.

Besides this, there are the actual impacts of what some supposed "green" ideas actually have on the environment. Certain things which save trees, like online bill pay, seem like an easy way to be green and you do save a lot of trees, but using the internet does leave a carbon footprint. Google was very upfront about how much energy their searches consume, but look at the numbers and think of how many thousands of searches you have done. It's not much, but it adds up quickly. So what can you do about that?

I am not saying throw your computer out by ANY means... I practically live on mine... but there are options. Love Google? Try Blackle. Same Google search power, just dark. Believe it or not, having a black website saves energy. It is SUPER negligible, but again, when there are literally millions of searches a second going on, it adds up pretty fast.

Another green idea that seems to be a bit misguided are green rallies. I am all for getting people together to educate. I love that sort of thing. But come on guys. Paper flyers everywhere, disposable goods... honestly, the amount of trash produced is a bit ironic. Keep it small. It's more intimate and usually makes more of an impact.

Recycling has it's merits as well, but be warned: just because it seems recyclable doesn't mean it is. While recycling is up over all, many people are required to sort through the recyclables to take out things you can't recycle but are in there anyway. There is also the economic view point of it not being very economically sound since the demand for recyclable materials is down. Shame. While this would deter most people (more and more work) there is hope. If it's greasy and food covered, throw it in your food waste. It will compost. Bills and the like, still recyclable.

So what is the point of this post? It is just to make you aware. Think about things. You may mean well, but may do some harm in the process. You shouldn't go green to brag about what you have done and get credit for it, it is a real lifestyle choice. You just should always know that EVERYTHING we do has an impact, and that is okay. Don't stress on it too much. A lot of the impact we do have when living green is something nature can work with and use for something else. It's a balance. It will work out. It's just nice knowing you did what you could. Every little bit DOES count and it adds up quickly.


Sherry Blaine July 8, 2009 at 6:23 PM  

I am tree hugger and a bug lover. I am on the campaign for  "let's not be killing the bugs!" Always good to read your posts.

Mimi July 9, 2009 at 7:41 AM  

I, too, love bugs.

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