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gsiener's avatar

What does it mean to be green?

Asked by gsiener (410points) April 1st, 2008

I’m giving a talk tonight about being green, and was wondering what it means to all of you in internet land?

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13 Answers

MrKnowItAll's avatar

It’s not easy being green, or so say’s Kermit.

Allie's avatar

to be earth friendly! =]

trogdor_87's avatar

Being eco friendly.

jrpowell's avatar

This quote from one of my favorite bands sums up my believes nicely.
“Leave your mark on our world by leaving no mark at all.”

That is really hard to do. But it is a good goal to try and achieve.

cwilbur's avatar

Superficially ecologically correct; whether it remains so under examination varies.

I remember the Earth Club, when I was in college, protesting the availability of disposable cups to take coffee or other hot beverages out of the dining halls. They made enough of a fuss that the college provided everyone with reusable plastic mugs.

Unfortunately, the plastic in the mugs was substantially worse in landfills than the cardboard would have been; if the consumption had been one mug per student per year, it would have been a wash. But the mugs, which were “free,” were thrown out and lost with reckless abandon, and people kept on using the cardboard cups.

So this was a great “green” effort, and there was much back-patting about how the Earth Club had gotten the evil wasteful college to reform its ways.

ben's avatar

Sharing office space, servers, and energy efficiency in general.

Correctly disposing of e-waste.

Supporting environment policies, politicians, and companies.

Commuting by bike / video-conferencing / choosing a minimally car-dependent location. (!)

Helping raise awareness of green issues.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

driving a hybrid

Alina1235's avatar

wearing those ugly green shopping bags made of recycle materials LOL sorry couldn’t help it

steelmarket's avatar

cwilbur is absolutely correct. There is so much hype floating around on how to be green that it is tough to tell what is real. Best way to start is look at your personal life style: take shorter showers, turn out the lights when you are not using them, shop a little closer to home, try some natural natural products on your lawn instead of chemicals, be very aware of what you flush down the drain, stay away from bottled water (get a filter!), etc. Remember that you (John Q Public) are the largest source of pollution, not some industry.

cwilbur's avatar

Another example: “being green” by using compact fluorescent light bulbs—which consume less energy and last longer, but need to be disposed of as hazardous materials because they contain mercury.

If you only look at the energy consumption, you can spin the compact fluorescents as “green”—but if you look at the environmental impact from manufacturing and disposing of the bulbs themselves, you can spin the conventional incandescents as “green.”

So, as far as I’m concerned, calling something “green” strikes me as a big red flag that I’m being manipulated and that I should look for the hidden costs.

ben's avatar

I’ve heard that amount of mercury in a compact fluorescent is less than the mercury produced (by a coal powerplant) for the extra energy required by an incandescent in a year. Just FYI.

cwilbur's avatar

Possibly. But it’s all being spun by people who have an agenda; the more something is touted as “green” the more I look for whatever it is that I’m not supposed to notice or pay attention to in my rush to be a good ecological citizen.

gsiener's avatar

Thanks guys. The talk went really well, and we dove into some of the harder issues to unravel (like the ones cwilbur and ben have raised). For anyone that’s interested, this actually took place at The Island School, a semester abroad program in the Bahamas that promotes sustainability.

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