Published on June 18th, 2008 | by Zachary Shahan13
Green is In, but What is Green? “Green” Lifestyles and Green Living
In preparing for this new job, writing for GO Media’s Sustainablog and Planetsave blog, I was picking up green magazines, green newspaper articles, advertisements for green books and goods, and thinking (even more than normal) about green living, green lifestyles, and how we are going to find ourselves out of the mess we have put ourselves in.
It is a complicated situation we’ve put ourselves in. Beyond the water quality and air quality problems we’ve had for more than a century, we are now facing global climate change, there is concern about ‘peak oil’ and all of the ramifications related to that issue (including drilling for oil in ecological world treasures), and there are increasing concerns about the sustainability of our global food systems and how we are going to feed our future generations. Cities and stores are just now starting to ban plastic bags, realizing after a few decades that a product that will not disappear for thousands of years should not be reproduced.
We are facing very complicated issues that are a result of the very unnatural and complicated things and systems we have created in recent times.
How do we address these problems and concerns?
As Albert Einstein said a few years ago,
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
We keep wanting to find the next technological breakthrough that is going to bring us out of this mess. We keep wanting to buy the next green product that allows us to live the same lifestyle while feeling that we are saving the earth (our future generations and fellow creatures really, since the earth will survive). We keep wanting to look out for the solutions to these problems that were created by looking out in the first place and not being satisfied with the way things were.
We rush around everywhere, live busy lives, and “have to” drive or eat pre-packaged foods to support our lifestyle.
We feel like it’s alright to drive since we have a hybrid, but we emit more greenhouse gases because we drive more than we would in a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. (Check out the top 17 reasons why the bicycle is the most popular vehicle in the world today.)
We want to live our complicated, modern-day lives and think that it is possible to do this and save the world as well if we have a green stamp on all of our products.
As implied above, we have to change our consciousness if we are going to solve the problems that we’ve inherited. We have to simplify our lives.
We have to say, I am going to live in a place where I don’t need a car and can get to work and the stores I need to go to on foot, bicycle, or public transit.
We have to say, I’m going to give myself enough time in the day to make meals out of non-processed foods.
We have to say, I am not going to load myself up with so many meetings and responsibilities and hobbies that I cannot live without a car and cannot take some time out to make my own dinner.
We have to change our lives, not the brand of our products. (Although, please do that as well!)
We have to realize that it is our lifestyles that are the problem.
Green represents life.
And it is our lives that have to be green,
not the products we consume and acquire.