From local businesses to close friends, it seems like everyone has begun “going green” within the past few years. But what does this mean, exactly? In general terms, “going green” equates to eco-friendly living. It means recycling when possible, using sustainable products, eating local food and doing whatever you can to decrease your impact on Mother Earth. The trend is driven largely by the ever-growing scientific suggestion that global warming is real and problematic. So is going green just a trend?
The answer to that question probably depends on who you ask. While some scoff at the thought of global warming in general, and therefore put green living pretty low down on their list of priorities, others strive to care for the environment in everything they do. The former category of people would probably call eco-friendly living a trend, while the latter considers it an essential shift of lifestyle.
Some critics of this emerging eco-friendly “fad” emphasize their belief that global warming isn’t really the alarming change that the majority of scientists say it is. They point to a chosen few who consider the overall rise in temperature and resulting changes in the earth a natural shift. They say that going green is good for business. For instance, when a company can brand its products as environmentally friendly, they’ll fly off the shelves.
However, not everyone feels this way. Many people staunchly believe that going green is an effective and important way to halt global warming in its tracks, leaving a healthy planet for their children and grandchildren. No matter how small the steps they take, each and every move in the right direction makes a small impact that will eventually add up to an enormous shift in the environment. It’s just a matter of perspective.
The Pivotal Factor
That perspective is what will drive future generations to continue working toward a healthier planet or drop the endeavor. The more people who believe that small changes can have a large, lasting impact, the better Mother Nature’s chance of surviving and thriving over the next century or millennium. As science continues to come out and support humans’ ability to turn things around — as it has for many years, not just recently — it’s getting easier and easier to go green.
So how exactly, can you, go green? And why? The methods to decrease your carbon footprint are virtually endless. You can simply turn down the thermostat, thus saving energy and fuel, or take things a step further and plan an eco-friendly wedding. Believe it or not, many couples are committing to green weddings (or at least green components of their wedding days) in order to keep the planet healthy and even save some money.
If the changing status of the environment doesn’t necessarily convince you that going green is essential, maybe that financial savings will. It extends far beyond your wedding day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if every building in the nation underwent an eco-friendly makeover, the nation could save $20 billion annually in energy costs. Think about how much you could save on your own heating bill at home if you simply turned down the thermostat?
In addition to adjusting the thermostat, you can also use low-flow toilets and Energy Star Certified appliances to save on your bills. But bills aren’t the only reason to go green. It’s good for your health, too. Consider, for instance, the fact that painters used to enlist lead-based paint — even in schools. Nowadays, painters use no or low-VOC paints so that their employees don’t breathe in toxic fumes, and neither do the people who inhabit the rooms afterward.
With so much evidence continuing to build that points to global warming as a long-lasting, potential problem, you can probably bet that the going green trend isn’t going away. It’s really less of a trend and more of a shift in national and global perspective, a new way to treat the fragile earth that provides so much for its inhabitants. Start doing your part in small ways, and you might be surprised by the larger change it helps to create in the world.