It Ain’t Easy Being Green


Courtesy of climateprogress.org

Second to Kermit the Frog, I would like to think I am the first to admit that.  I know it’s hard to remember to bring your canvas grocery bags from home.  There were times where I really didn’t want to put my boots on this winter and trudge out to my worm bin to feed them our food scraps.  I’m not perfect, far from it.  I still buy the flash drive that has a million layers of packaging and I have no idea of what the conditions of its production were.

I try to be aware.  I try to buy in season, I grow my own vegetables and try to support local farmers as well as dairy and meat producers as well.  And I do it as a struggling student with two kids to feed.  I’m REALLY trying not to get on my soap box, because we are all human.  More specifically, most of those reading this and myself are all members of the U.S. population, which means that for us to take a moment to defy the individualistic nature inherent in our society and work toward a greater good is a freaking miracle!

So when I see someone taking advantage of this pursuit of the greater good, I get a little peeved.  So this is where I get to my mini-rant.  Being green is not a commodity for marketing.  There I said it.  In fact, I don’t even like to say I’m green.  I like words like sustainable or environmental steward.  Because most of the time you never know what is being marketed to you is truly green or greenwashing.

According the Greenpeace website, stopgreenwash.org, the definition for greenwashing is:

“Used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.” – Greenpeace

stopgreenwash.org mainly focuses on major oil, nuclear, auto, electricity, coal and forestry.  However, the rules they used to assess companies in their investigations (http://stopgreenwash.org/criteria) can be applied any purchase you are considering.  I also think you could ask yourself if there any human rights violations issues (see my blog about Alta Gracia and Free Trade Zones.)  Be a smart shopper and ask yourself if they are green or just greenwashing. 

Another big green or greenwashing trend that is going around is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose.”  I love found art.  I love old things re-made beautiful and trash made into something wonderful and usable.  You can find directions on the internet teaching you how to repurpose these things to make them beautiful/useful/reusable.  There are even people willing to charge you a pretty penny to teach you or your children how.

A recycled paper making class I would gladly pay for, however, learning how to turn an old package of gum into a credit card holder using duct tape?  You might want to pass on that.  In addition to the fact that a paper gum pack is perfectly recyclable or compostable on its own, once you apply any duct tape to anything it is no longer recyclable.

Duct tape is made with cotton mesh, a non-water soluble chemical based glue and Polyethylene, the same type of plastic that evil plastic grocery bags are made of.  That means when you make this:

 
or this:
 
 
and wear it for one week junior year of high school, it could end up here:
 
 
or here:
 For well over 100 years!!!!
(That’s the Pacific Ocean Trash Vortex and before you ask, it’s double the size of Texas.)
 
And that’s before you factor in what type of emissions went into making the tape in the first place.
 
So what did we learn here today?
 
Try vermicomposting.  Worms are great.
Do your research.
Don’t be perfect, just try.
Put the duct tape down.  Take a local foods cooking class instead!  Yum!
 
Thanks for listening.  *Steps down, picks up soapbox and walks away.*
 
As always, this is my copyright, if used without my permission it will result in all welcome mats going missing from suburban North America and the scratching of all CD-Rs. 
 
*Note:  At time of publication, I was having photo importing issues, so to get the proper photo citations, just click on the photo, the link is embedded.
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About pageturnershollow

My life is in constant motion and sometimes I just need to take a moment to breathe. I have learned to laugh at the hardest parts or my life and move on with optimism. Most days around here end with laughter.
This entry was posted in Adventures, Climate Change, Duct Tape, Education, Environmental Stewardship, Funny, Green, Greenwashing, Pacific Northwest, School, Sustainability, Sweatshops, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It Ain’t Easy Being Green

  1. Will Griggs says:

    Amen, sister (literally and figuratively)! I am finding it so hard to be green here on campus. No worm bins! No composting of any kind! They use plastic bags inside the recycling containers (at least one in every classroom)! I was spoiled by Cascadia Community College, but I try my part by recycling as much as I can and by reusing cloth shopping bags. I agree that it all boils down to trying. One of my favorite documentaries of recent years is “No Impact Man.”. Check it out, it’s about a family in NYC who tries to learn to live carbon neutral for an entire year. I miss having sustainable people around me to keep me going as an environmental steward, but you have helped me think that way again!

  2. Kim Andersen says:

    Argh! And I just used duct tape yesterday!! I did use it to repair some already plastic things though ….. My plastic laundry basket that is well over 20 years old, and the blackout roller shades that were ripping right where you pull the shade up and down. I am not about to go out and get new roller shades just because of a little tear! And now they are as strong as they should have been in the first place. Mending things is my new soapbox. Why not just mend that tear or patch that hole or simply embrace that frayed edge for what it is …. Well worn and more comfortable than it was when it was new 🙂

    (my mom is your across the street neighbor and she forwarded your blog link to me …. Isn’t she such a nice lady?!?)

    • Don’t get me wrong, I use duct tape around the house to mend things as well! I’ve gotten much more use out of a hose because of it. But must we make an entire prom dress out of it? Lol!

      I saw your blog as well. Beautiful work! Kept me up late last night! 😉

  3. Pingback: Plastic – In Our Lives | Page Turners Hollow

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