It’s a wonderful time to decide to be more environmentally friendly in your buying decisions. There are many products available and the prices are getting better. But where people often fall short of their green goals is in really thinking about the environment.
Do you really need to make that purchase right now?
Buying green is a great way to feel good about what you’re buying. You’re buying products that were made in a manner that is less harmful to the environment. Maybe they’re even supporting other environmental causes. And you get new stuff!
The trouble is that many people still buy a ton of stuff they don’t need, while thinking about the green aspects of their purchase. If you’re buying bamboo sheets to replace your old ones, did you stop to think about whether or not your old sheets really needed replacing? Many people replace items that haven’t worn out yet just so that they can buy the more environmentally friendly item.
If you think about that, it makes little sense. You can do a bit better if you don’t just throw out the old item, but donate it to charity or give it to someone else who needs it, but excessive consumption is still a problem.
On the plus side, buying green means you’re creating demand, making it more interesting for companies to produce these items.
However, the biggest problem is excessive consumption, green or otherwise. A simpler lifestyle, once in which you use up fewer resources, is extremely important.
This is not an easy step to take. Most families need two cars, as both parents work outside the home. Carpooling is difficult at best for most people. Many areas have poor quality public transportation. Yet two incomes are needed to get by for most families.
Shopping green with no concern for how much you’re consuming is the easy way out. It’s an improvement, but a small one when compared to what you could achieve if you are ready to make the sacrifices and try to really make a difference.
What differences can you make?
When it comes time to replace something, an appliance, your sheets, your car, etc., do think about what the greenest option is. But don’t just do this casually. If your old washing machine still works, a more energy efficient one may be more environmentally friendly when it runs, but what about the disposal of the old one? What about the manufacture of the new one?
Think about how you can use less energy. Take a better look at public transportation. If you have kids, take a look at how long the walk to school really is. Maybe you don’t have to drive them there. Can you use a clothesline instead of a dryer in your community? Some do make this difficult. Unplug anything that doesn’t need to be plugged in all the time. Turn off computer monitors and even computers when not in use.
Every step towards people thinking more about the environment is significant, and so I can’t blame people for enjoying a bit of green consumerism. I can only hope it leads to more thought about what we as individuals and as a society can do.