Or is that mould?
How “green” or “eco-friendly” are business you buy from or products you buy?
Who should I trust? is it really making any difference anyway? why should I even bother?
Confusion! No wonder everyone is resigned and cynical about all of this.
But how about how we purchase things like cars or electronics? We know what we think are reputable brands, some of us act on this and only get the best and the ones we consider trustworthy, others purchase based purely on price at a much higher risk. However in this case the risk your taking is purely personal – you are the one burdened when the ramifications of your actions.
A wise purchasing choice environmentally speaking would take into account many many factors; where was it made? what was it made from? how was it made? how did it get here? when will I need to replace it?
You can end up going around and around in circles. Veggies for example, buy organic produce which is more expensive and perhaps brought in from another state (or country) or buy locally grown non organic produce which may be causing water issues closer to home, it can all be very depressing.
I am far from an angel in terms of ensuring that I spend my money on ethically sound products, I’m a human being, I am lazy sometimes, I am unorganised, and sometimes I lose sight of the goal completely.
However! Two factors which I think will make a difference in this debate;
The precautionary principle:
From Wiki: “One of the primary foundations of the precautionary principle, and globally accepted definitions, results from the work of the Rio Conference, or “Earth Summit” in 1992. Principle #15 of the Rio Declaration notes:
“In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.””
In this case what I mean is that in the face of uncertainty we should take action. Don’t let negativity, inadequacy, confusion etc lead you to choosing to do nothing at all. The world is made up of many many little actions and every one makes a difference to the planet. Every time.
Plus, action taken by companies and organisations to lead them to a place where they can feel they can describe themselves as ‘green-ish’, is something! It might not be much, it might look like a complete waste of time, but its an action.
Treehugger did an article recently about the UK postal service running a series of ‘eco’ stamps which featured designs like “use less water” and “turn off lights” and other [mind numbing] things, despite being a huge contributor to the country’s carbon pollution. I’d, of course, encourage the organisation to grow a back bone and do something awesome, but there is no point wasting our energy shooting them down.
A good example of this is the personal care products debate. I buy “sulfate, paraben etc free” products because I want to be better safe than sorry, plus it suits my skin (see next point). Yes there is a whole heap of conflicting evidence around, I’ve done some research (I’ve done a bit of chemistry in my time but I’m not a doctor), I’ve chosen the ‘lets not poke the synthetically produced ugly beast in the eye’ route. My precaution is to stick with as un-tampered with my human kind as possible.
Make the eco-concious decisions that make you happy:
This is not intended to be some hippy rubbish – but my opinion is that our actions should create a world that we love and adore. Meaning: a fully functioning, efficient, healthy ecosystem – this might not be your vision of utopia but I can almost guarantee (unless your vision is set on some other planetary landscape) that this will allow your vision to exist.
The backyard of your electronic filled, high-tech, wonderful dream house complete with waterslide to a ball pit, doesn’t look like this;
Sorry, that was a bit extreme.. but you get the point.
This doesn’t mean that we should give up buying speccy new iPads or a new car, it just means that these purchasing decisions (visibly somehow) should connect to how we want our world to be.
I guess it’s an awareness thing more than anything. But then again humans often do not make sense. I want to be skinny .. *freddo frog*…
anyway! point is, decide what matters to you in this debate and act on it.
For instance, I want to eat lots of locally produced food because it supports my local farmers, the town I live in, it doesn’t have to travel, I don’t need to go to the sterile yucky supermarket to buy it, I get to go to the farmers market, and its cheaper.I drive a fuel efficient car, it saves me lots of money, its super quiet and it causes less pollution.
Heaps of people shoot down environmentally driven actions with all the other ‘what about..? what about..?’ so you end up feeling like throwing your hands in the air and screaming. Who cares!? do what makes you feel good. If everyone felt fricken AMAZING about making a choice towards something a bit more enviro friendly that would be brilliant and more people would do it, and then the choices would get better and better and better.
Don’t waste things, buy good quality so you don’t have to keep replacing it and wasting all those materials etc again and again, plus you end up with a nicer product. Be patient, and be sure of what you want – it’s not a money thing, it’s a happiness thing.
Have you seen “The Story of Stuff” if not you definitely should, well worth your time (20 mins)–> http://www.storyofstuff.com/