Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Greed in the name of green article (Environmental News)

I just read a really interesting article in the Washington Post's style section called "Greed in the name of green" by Monica Hesse which I thought brought up a lot of good points about environmentalism and consumerism. But I am not sure if most people would truly get the article since it was very sarcastic in tone, and its tone may inadvertly dissuade people from buying green products when needed, instead of driving the article's main point home that to truly be green it is better to consume less. But I think it's worth a read since I think the author brought up a very important ecological topic, and the title and writing style really caught my attention.

I plug a lot of green companies on this blog and though I've mentioned in a couple entries that less consumption of products is always best for the environment, this article made me realize that perhaps I haven't emphasized it enough. In the last several years I've really tried to buy less; I'm the kind of person that will use something until it breaks (I had a CD diskman for 15 years and did not get an ipod until it died--and I got my ipod as a very nice birthday present, didn't buy it myself. When I got a new cell phone in the winter of 2006, the employees at Best Buy were so shocked that my old phone was like five years old--I had used it until it literally fell apart). But at the same time I have a weakness for books (my library is huge) and, of course, herbs and aromatherapy (but aromatherapy and herbalism are fast becoming my livelihood).

I think the article brought up a very good point: that the problem and point of being environmental is not buying just green products instead of conventional/less eco-friendly products (though that is a good thing too). The problem is that people consume too much, and think that if they can replace everything they consume now with a greener equivalent, and keep consuming the same amount they do, that will solve the problem. Well that would make it a little better, but many people don't realize that overconsumption in general is a huge problem: to be truly green it is better to consume less, and use what you have long term (not be caught up in consumerism and the need to have the newest gizmo or fad). The author also mentions in her article a few other good points (but I think they got buried under her sarcastic tone, and because of that some people may not get it and see this article as an 'anti-green product' article though it isn't): when you do need to get something buying green is a good alternative, since it is more eco-friendly, and the plethora of green products on the market shows that people are realizing that environmental problems are truly real and they are serious.

I personally think the best way to be eco-friendly is to buy less, and only buy what you need (and when you need to buy, try a green alternative). Quality over quantity.

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