Green is the new black! You may have seen this on organic cotton tee shirts, eco-friendly reusable grocery bags, it is hip to be green nowadays, whether it is just a fad or a durable trend. But how does one get the green bug… and what is being green anyway? Eating healthy? Recycling trash? Working at reducing one’s carbon footprint? All of the above, and more. Much, much more.There is no need for a title, a degree or a special talent to start living a healthier, more eco-conscious, greener life. Not much motivation either: With the alarming rise in food sensitivities, allergies, the extent of Autism Spectrum Disorders, and more serious conditions like chronic illnesses and cancers (some of them striking at an always younger age), we all strive to best protect our loved ones, even more so our children.
As it gets harder to ignore the connection between the way we live our daily lives and our weakened, more fragile, exposed health, we wonder how to live a safer, greener life. And yet, too many of us stay stuck on the same mental blocks: it is too complicated, too disruptive of our routine, too time-consuming, too expensive… We are judging the idea of green living before we even figure out what it is, or try anything. It might be because we don’t know what it is and where to start?
Green living is a vast topic and somewhat of an overrated term, so defining it should definitely be a helpful first step in this journey. It’ll help to generate ideas, will be a good checkpoint list to come back to, to assess how much ground has been covered, and will also help to figure out what to do next.
Without being too hippie-tree-hugger cliche, although there might be a bit of that, green living can be defined as an overall approach to life that includes:
- Eating healthy- Feeding our body with nutritious, safe & not chemically laden foods comes first and is the most intuitive definition of green living; because without our health, not much else is possible… This means reducing our processed, packaged foods intake in favor of more fresh, locally grown, organic produce. Whole, real foods are key to help strengthening our health. The USDA organic seal guarantees how single or multiple ingredient products have been grown or manufactured. The end point is to avoid the use of pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Obesity is also a major modern times issue. A dedicated post about healthy eating will be published soon, as well as tips on how to shop health-consciously and within a budget.
- Protecting our health- Inclusive of but wider than eating a healthy diet, safeguarding our health is about being aware of our everyday environment and the possible sources of danger in what we use, wear, breathe, lather in, eat, places we go to, things we touch… Chemicals are everywhere around us but (fortunately) to some extent, our exposure can be controlled. These posts on kitchen makeover, reusable water bottle, sustainable lunch on the go items, and plastic types may help you get started.
- Preserving the Earth- As good citizens of the world, making sure that what makes our life easier does not hurt the planet in the process, and always look for the greenest way to get things done, should be second-nature, to the point of being done unconsciously. As the saying goes: We, today, only borrow the planet to our children. So we need to give it back to them at a minimum how we found it, not in a worst state. Good luck to us on that front. From picking up our own trash (and others if they fail at it) to getting educated about possible dangers and how to avoid them, the task at hand is colossal. Learning more about global warming, modern sources of pollution, possible dangers of fracking, modern day clean energy solutions, the challenge of water conservation, the unsafe massive use of industrial toxic chemicals, deforestation… The list goes on and on.
- Preferring experiences over things- The is quite intuitive: Freeing our mind and time from material possessions allows us to focus on the people who really matter, sharing experiences with them and creating lifelong memories in the process… Family, friends, we know who they are. Check out this post on the importance of sharing values as one simple example of this.
- Refuse, rethink, reduce, reuse, repair, repurpose, recycle, rot- The always growing famous (not enough though) “r” motto of green people. It is all about making sure we do not consume, buy, produce, make more than we need to and/or in a way that will create avoidable waste, damage a place or hurt someone. It is also an invitation to keep looking for renewed uses to everything, to refuse to discard because our trash can always be someone else’s treasure! Everything is valuable, in one way or another, to you or to someone else! It is a mindset that sets in quite fast once you get familiar with it. Check out these posts on freecycle, thrift stores and de-cluttering.
This list is far from being exhaustive. There are so many definitions to being green, and so many ways to green living. That’s exactly what makes the richness of it. And chances are, reading this, that you realized you’re already doing some of these things, and more, not mentioned here…
Care to add them in the comment section to share with, and enrich everyone?
Now if you are still with us after reading this, then you are ready for the next step in starting a green journey: going past the typical roadblocks to actually start embracing a greener life, right now!