The Many Shades of Green Living
With a gallon of gas costing as much as your morning latte, the idea of “going green” is turning heads as our decisions as consumers and citizens pile up around us. Where “going green”—a reference to the prominent color in nature—once meant an all-or-nothing proposition for which most or all choices were environmentally conscious, the modern definition is more fluid. A recent Yale University research study revealed a sea change in attitudes about our impact on the environment, with 83% of Americans citing global warming as a “serious” problem, up from 70% in 2004. The good news is it’s never too late to paint one’s life a deeper shade of green. What can seem daunting is selecting the perfect hue.
“I think minimally a green lifestyle is one in which a person takes active steps to ensure that his or her choices minimize negative impacts on the natural world,” says Rob Fergus, senior scientist with the National Audubon Society.
The key word here is “choices.” During the first 30 days of going green, the key is to shift one’s choices in a way that suits current obligations and preferences while having fun along the way.
Varying Shades of Green Living
Jennifer Boulden knows a thing or two about having fun while making key lifestyle changes. Co-founder of IdealBite.com, her mission is to feed readers eco-consciousness one green email at a time. “Adopting a green lifestyle means doing what you can, knowing that no one is perfect and we don’t have to try to be,” she says. “But where it’s convenient or possible or fun or inspirational, do give it a bit of extra thought.” This means thinking about how your choices impact the environment or about how you can better align your lifestyle with a more earth-friendly way of doing things. For example, a large family who drives an SUV, can minimize daily waste by using reusable lunch bags.
In contrast to the dour, doom-and-gloom days of yore in the environmental movement, Fergus is hip to the current trend toward choosing among a range of lifestyle choices from “light” to “dark” green. “Recycling and replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents and driving a hybrid car are all what I would consider light green lifestyle choices,” he says. “Darker green choices might include producing as much food as you can in a backyard garden and supporting local organic agriculture, minimizing use of a car by cycling or using mass transportation and cutting back on electricity use and adopting household alternative energy sources like solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling.”