Today is Earth Day, a day of worldwide events designed to highlight and promote environmental protection efforts.
But while you participate in your community’s recycling program and perhaps you have made the switch to re-useable shopping bags, going green is more than just replacing a few incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or recycling empty, aluminum cans.
Certainly, small steps like these, done collectively, make a significant difference. But let’s face it, even if every light bulb on the planet were changed or every aluminum can recycled, we’re only putting a bandaid on the larger problem of climate change.
Ecologists and other experts continue to sound the warning that we are entering a period of devastating consequences as a result of the last 100 years of industrialization and waste. If it took us that long to dig into this hole, we’re not going to dig ourselves out overnight!
Obviously, I don’t think anyone is knocking grass roots efforts…no pun intended!!! But truly going green is as much a shift in consciousness as it is any one thing or thing(s) we might do to reduce our carbon footprint on the world.
What do I mean by a shift in consciousness? Let me ask: When was the last time you went shopping and before you bought whatever it was you were looking for you stopped and thought about how it was produced, how far it was shipped, how the item was packaged, and even how it was marketed to you? How much energy was consumed during this process including the gas you used driving to the store and back? And how much energy and how much landfill space will be used in disposing of the item when it reaches the end of its useful life? In truth, asking questions like this more frequently represents the consciousness/awareness we must all adopt in order to make a more significant change toward greening our daily lives.
I’m not advocating doing without unless that makes sense. But you might find that by simply asking yourself some of these questions you have a different set of priorities when making purchasing choices. Can you use something a little longer? Can you repurpose something else? Are you buying just for the sake of buying?
“Redesign is Green Design” is a notion I came up with several years ago to highlight that interior decorating by reusing and repurposing items that might otherwise have been discarded is fundamentally eco-friendly. And while the very nature of decorating suggests “new” and “improved” surroundings (driving consumption and subsequent waste), we all can make better choices that allow us to have beautiful homes and gardens while being green at the same time!!!
I challenge you to shift your own awareness as you make decorating choices. Reuse items if you can. If you must purchase, make better, more educated choices. Look for items that are produced responsibly and will last as long as possible. Encourage the use of locally produced natural or recycled materials. And, don’t fall prey to deceptive marketing. Just because it says Green on the label doesn’t mean it wasn’t shipped halfway around the world really reducing or even negating an items eco-friendliness. By reusing, restyling, and repurposing even a fraction of the items in your home, over time you will keep tons of household items out of the waste stream and reduce your carbon footprint by a significant amount.
And remember, we need the Earth… the Earth doesn’t need us!!! Do you part to make our world a healthier, better place through Redesign and Eco-friendly decorating!