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green is good
you'd think it was obvious
by reem al-omari (@Reemawi)
pop culture

I own a T-shirt that says "Green is good." I love this T-shirt, because it's white, and the print is in the coolest shade of lime green. I also love this T-shirt, because it states the obvious and perhaps saves the breath of those who find it necessary to state the obvious to me-- that green is indeed good.

Green is also my favorite color. The reason why green is my favorite color is because it represents nature to me at its most beautiful. Trees, more than a few wild creatures, fruits, vegetables... it's all good stuff that's good for us, and/or the environment.

So, I love green and nature. I think they're both good, and most of my life, I thought I've been pretty gentle with mother nature. I won't say I'm completely green... none of us is. Even those who state the obvious are not completely green, because they drive, use up water, and produce waste just like not so green people do.

So, what am I getting at?

What I'm getting at is that I'm getting sick and tired of this green craze that makes those who are just now realizing that humans suck (something I've been aware of since I was able to have a thought in my brain) telling me that I'm not green enough, and expecting me to shell out the dough for something I feel the government should create.

I happen to think I'm green enough for someone who doesn't have the finances to make my entire life green and organic. To prove this statement, here are the ways in which I am green:

- Yes, I don't always remember to grab my "green" shopping tote, but even when I do bring plastic bags home, they are used and reused. I use them to line trash cans throughout my house, and for litter box duty. I use them when I travel to separate shoes from my clothes, and to separate dirty clothes from the clean ones in my suitcase. Maybe I create waste that is not biodegradable by using those bags, but it is inevitable to bring plastic bags home after a trip to the store, I don't care who you are. I hear there are biodegradable plastic bags you can buy to serve the same purpose, but it's not practical nor is it realistic to expect people to go out and spend money on plastic bags, when they end up with free ones all the time. I say we petition that retailers begin using biodegradable plastic bags on their own... that would be a lot more realistic and consistent in creating a greener world.

- Also, I don't drive a hybrid, but I own an almost compact car, and limit my driving to places close by, or the really far away places that lack the convenience of public transportation. I never drive downtown anymore, thanks to a train system that extends from the southeast suburbs of Denver, all the way to lower downtown Denver. I meet friends downtown each week, and I take the train each time. Provided that I do drive about 7 miles to the train station itself, that's still better than the 30 miles I'd have to drive all the way downtown without the convenience of the train. I'm saving gas, traffic congestion, and a headache for myself. Most of all, I'm doing my part in reducing pollution by saving those extra 23 miles and taking the train instead. I also do quite a bit of car pooling and use my bike in the warm months to run errands close by.

- At my house, newspapers are heavily used for soaking up spills on the floor, serving as drop cloths for messy activities, wrapping breakable items, or packing boxes for shipping. There was a time when I used the life and style sections of the paper as gift wrap, and it was pretty cool. Very little newspaper goes in the trash, if at all at my house.

- Paper towels are also used and reused at my house, provided they are relatively clean enough to be reused, of course. For instance, if I wash my hands and use a paper towel to dry them, I simply dry my hands and set the paper towel aside for cleaning up spills, or even drying my hands again later. A roll of paper towels lasts a long time at my house.

Having said all that, I hope you've seen that I try to be green. I recognize that perhaps I am not proactive enough, but asking everyone to spend money on something that the Environmental Protection Agency should regulate (like asking retailers to only use biodegradable plastic bags, for instance) and make standard is not practical or efficient enough. There needs to be something done on a large scale that takes the cost out of the equation for the green-aware consumer. In other words, stop telling me I'm not green enough and write your congressman or the EPA to make things greener for everyone. It might drive prices up in general, but prices are going up anyway, and it might as well be for something worthwhile and beneficial.

Yes. Being green is good. But I live in the real world, and it can get pretty expensive.


Reem lives and writes about it. She thinks that's what writers do, anyway. If it's not, then she also has a degree in journalism under her belt, along with the titles of reporter, editor (in chief, even) and, of course, opinion columnist.

more about reem al-omari


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topic: pop culture
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juli mccarthy
12.9.07 @ 1:29a

We've been working on living greener over the last year or so. It's easier than I expected it to be. We've eliminated a lot of paper and plastic, are buying closer to home, and have taken some small measures (every little bit counts) toward running our home more energy-efficiently. My most recent triumph was the elimination of paper towels and paper napkins (except for parties, because at some point the washer-dryer usage cancels out the paper savings.)

A friend of mine found this site: http://www.worldcentric.org/store/fiberplates.htm

They have some trouble with backordered stuff and limited availability, but I did a cost comparison and discovered it is actual cheaper to buy bagasse plates in bulk than it is to buy Solo plastic ones. It's worth it to join in with some friends and split a large order annually - this is one of our goals for next year!

robert melos
12.9.07 @ 5:59a

It's not easy being green (I couldn't resist), but I'm trying. I buy the paper towels that can be easily torn off to one of three different sizes so as not to waste a big towel for a little job. Newspapers, unfortunately do get wasted. I have a lifetime supply of plastic bags that keeps growing, but I use them as you do for garbage and storage and such.

The transportation thing isn't as easy given my current line of work; real estate. I need to drive, although since the market is all but completely dead here in NJ my driving for work is way down. It's not impossible to go green, but I think a large portion of the general public is still unaware or uncaring of the situation.

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