This spring has hosted a plethora of cable shows about being green. Itâ€™s all the rage! So many people genuinely care about the environment and want to live their lives with an eye toward helping, and not hurting, the planet and the atmosphere. They want to make a commitment to living, and buying, green and are being egged on by HGTV and their mantra â€œchange the world, begin at home.â€
Until recently I had a view of green that encompassed some products that conserve energy and some products that are made of recycled components of non-biodegradable materials â€“ in an effort to keep them out of the landfill. Some of the products that I had seen were kind of funky looking â€“ some in a cool way â€“ and all were outrageously expensive. So a commitment might mean spending a lot of money â€“ albeit an investment â€“ to get a product that may not appeal to your aesthetic senses. And I just had to ask myself, was I going to be one of those people â€“ you know, the Hollywood types â€“ who rush to spend their expendable income on all the latest gadgets so that they can be the greenest of everyone they know? The jury was still out.
And then the paradigm shifted. I think it began with one â€œspecialâ€ episode of house hunters that featured a couple in search of a â€œgreenâ€ home. Being green is a whole lot more complicated than I had ever imagined. And thatâ€™s good and also bad. Itâ€™s good in that there are some very simple things â€“ that are free, or at least cheap â€“ that are critical in the world of being green. For example, not throwing things away because theyâ€™re old. Use them anyway â€“ the Europeans do. If theyâ€™re ugly, decorate them â€“ but donâ€™t throw out the old to make way for the new â€“ thatâ€™s a big no no. Being a product of the American â€œthrow-awayâ€ society is not green!
On the other hand, the House Hunters couple went through a major mental exercise when examining all of the appliances in the various kitchens. Some of them were very old â€“ thatâ€™s good. Oh wait, then theyâ€™re not energy efficient â€“ thatâ€™s bad. Iâ€™m still not sure which way to go in that battle, but I think itâ€™s something like: buy the new appliances and then make your dish washer and refrigerator into dressers for your clothing. Your old stove could be used to store wood for your fireplace â€“ and Oh God, I donâ€™t know if youâ€™re supposed to have a wood burning or gas fireplace â€“ or neither!
Suffice it to say that â€œitâ€™s not easy being greenâ€. But itâ€™s worth making the effort to do a little research on the topic. I will guarantee that youâ€™ll find some things that will be easy to do and make you feel as though youâ€™re making a contribution. Itâ€™s likely that there are already some things that youâ€™re doing and you donâ€™t even know it â€“ remember when you chose to hang on to great Aunt Mabelâ€™s desk and not pitch it into the neighborâ€™s dumpster when they were remodeling â€“ give yourself some props for that. Undoubtedly youâ€™ll find some things that youâ€™re not quite ready to commit to â€“ but keep them in mind for later. Once you know the score â€“ you can decide how green you want to be how soon. And letâ€™s face it â€“ greenâ€™s not going away any time soon so you might as well jump in and test the water!