March 31st, 2010

It’s Tough Being Green

By Neale Martin

We are all lifetime citizens of Earth, and as such we all play a role in keeping the planet habitable. But our best intentions often go astray or count for naught. The reusable grocery bags stay in the car forgotten until we get in the checkout lane. We buy high efficiency light bulbs but forget to turn them off when we leave the house. Worse, there is so much conflicting information. The clarity of the ecology movement has given way to the highly politicized and amorphous Green movement.

During the early days of the ecology movement, it was easy to do the right thing. First off, don’t litter. Second, tell your parents and other older relatives not to litter. Then plant a tree. The big stuff seemed pretty much out of our individual hands. We supported legislation like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. When recycling became available, we separated out our paper, cans and glass.

Things aren’t so easy now.

The world is far more complicated in the 21st Century. Apparently the global temperature is increasing and my behavior is directly leading to cataclysmic climate change. Instead of worrying about polluting, I need to reduce my carbon footprint—which I originally assumed was the black marks my new running shoes left on the tile floor. But I have been assured by some of the flakiest people I’ve ever met that every component of human activity is adding CO2 to the atmosphere including breathing out. And this notorious green house gas is ‘forcing’ a dramatic rise in temperature.

But it’s not. Over the past months a slew of new findings have been publicized that indicate global temperatures haven’t gone up in more than a decade and we’ve just come through a brutally cold winter. And even if the world is warming, almost all of the recommendations from scientists and nanny-state politicians are impractical, uneconomical, or of little difference in the grand scheme of things.

We must approach the idea of sustainability and being green from a completely different perspective. If you are familiar with our work, you know that we take a habit-based perspective on pretty much everything. And it is by changing some of our simplest behaviors that we can actually begin reducing the amount of energy we consumer and garbage we create.

Unfortunately, much of the green movement has become heavily politicized. In these “Green Behavior” blogs we will attempt to stay above the fray and focus on ideas that most of us can agree upon will help make the world a more hospitable place.

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