What Going Green Means to Me, and How Simple Things Can Rejuvenate Your Lifestyle
I’ve been confused for a long time to what people actually mean, or think they mean, when they talk about going “green.” It seems to me that people do a lot of talking about it, but no one actually ever takes the steps necessary to make a long term change. Like any other type of transformation it often involves hard work, dedication, and an alternative way of living. (usually meaning you have to give up a few things we take for granted) It isn’t ever as easy as it sounds and no one seems to follow through; at least not long enough to make a permanent difference. I think they choose to call it “the green movement” because to me green means go! Its motivating, its fresh, and its fun! I think people have gotten used to associating the “green movement” with just the environmental aspect of it all. To me, it goes a lot further. Frankly, I don’t care if you are going green, blue, purple, or orange, but I’ll digress starting with the environment.
Using less fossil fuels – I feel that it is our job to conserve what we have left of oil, coal, and natural gas so that future generations won’t have to solely rely so heavily upon the improvement advancement of new technologies. That being the case, I think it is important for us to begin development and research into alternative forms of energy. In fact, I feel that it is long overdue. The need to improve nuclear technology as a form of power, harvesting the energy of the sun and of the wind, and researching geothermal and hydrogen should be a priority as we enter into the second decade of this century. Each of us can do the little things we can to help save: drive less, carpool, public transportation, buy new cars which have a lower environmental impact, shut off lights when you’re not using them (this will save on your electric bill too dummy!) I know when I have more money to spend on me; I’m less stressed and happier. Two big things that can extend your life!
Conserving water and the environment – Growing up in Minnesota, there’s not much I like more than jumping into a crystal clear lake during a steaming hot, humid summer day. I enjoy the water as much as I can. I fish, wakeboard/ski, pontoon with family and friends, and sometimes just sit and listen to the waves at night. Water is important and I hope I’m not around when it becomes a scarce resource because shits going to hit the fan. (I’m reminded now of the diamond-water paradox) Maybe folks who didn’t grow up around water don’t have the fondness for it that I do, but those three molecules are a big deal! Air quality is important to me too, for the same reasons; I’ve always enjoyed the fresh air up here in the Midwest. Seeing pictures of smog hanging over LA makes me want to vomit. Also, stop smoking because you’re ruining the air I’m trying to breath! There is more to this though, when I think of the environment I think of everything that makes up the world we interact with. Plants, animals, other humans, be nice and have some respect! Pick up trash when you see it lying on the ground, it will make you feel surprisingly good about yourself, and is one of the little things each of us can do to help. Another one, plant a tree or a flower, it is more difficult a task than you might think and it is nice to watch it grow.
Recycling – I’ve heard a lot of different things about recycling. Some people have told me that they don’t actually recycle plastic because it is too expensive to break down. So I’m more of a fan of just re-using things, and not buying plastic bottles in the first place. It takes a lot of oil to produce plastic bottles (remember one thing we were trying to conserve) I still sort out all of the recyclables each week for the garbage man, so I guess I’ll keep doing that, if nothing else it makes me feel good. I’ve also seen some cities offering a rebate or cash rewards for participating in recycling so what the heck give it a shot!
Supporting local agriculture/economies – I think this one goes a long with eating fresh and free foods. The closer your foods are grown to your home the more fresh they will be, and the less they have to be processed for transportation. Foods grown on small family farms are usually cared for a lot more than food from the mega industrial farms. You can also get really great deals at farmer’s markets or organic grocery stores by buying in bulk or just buying the amount you need personally. This cuts down on wasted food and money. Not only are you getting more for your money, you are also helping out someone else who needs it more than some giant corporation. Feel good about that.
Eating a fresh and free diet – Green is fresh. I’m hooked on trying to eat the freshest foods and meat available. When I’m at the grocery store I like to buy organic fruits and vegetables, and I always look for 100% grass fed beef, wild caught fish, and free range chicken. I personally just feel like the nutrition from food grown or raised in the best environment is greater and more pure than foods raised with chemicals and hormones. I’ll admit…I’m a sugar junkie, but I do my best to stick to a healthy diet about 90% of the time so when I do go on a binge, it’s quick and dirty with minimal damage done.
Exercise – Green means healthy, alive, and full of life. There are few things that can make me feel more like this than exercise. Its drugs, and probably one of the best things you can ever get addicted too. I love the challenge, I love the harsh sound of iron when it echoes, I love having to lay on the floor and feeling like my chest is about to collapse, and most of all I love seeing other people pushing themselves just as hard. So if you think your someone who dreads exercise, step up challenge yourself and maybe you’ll find you actually do have what it takes to make a transformation.
Community Involvement – I think green represents goodness, get involved in your communities. I was thinking about this the other day; I was wondering how many kids currently enrolled in my high school would have any idea who I was. For my class I was one of the better athletes, active in three sports, captain and what not, well-known in the news, blah, blah, blah…but I’d be willing to bet if I went back today; there might be one or two kids who know who I am. And they probably had an older sibling that went to school with me. Well, I wish I had known then what I know now; don’t get too caught up with you. In the end no one will remember the things that you did for yourself, they’ll remember what you did for others. Be humble and seek out ways to positively impact your community. Learn this one now so you don’t have to look back and go "yea, I guess I was kind of 'that ass-hole'
Being a positive role model – Green means GO! Help young people, make a difference in their lives, volunteer to help teach or coach, or whatever it is that you do best. Pass your knowledge along to others. Kids all around you are watching, and looking up to you. Whether you’re a parent, a big sibling, an uncle, cousin, or whatever be responsible, act respectful, and follow the dang golden rule; “treat others the way you want to be treated”