Filed under: Society + Media
I wanted to share this Letter to the Editor that I wrote. Sadly, before I wrote it, I had no idea that Kansan staff (and I guess as I am a columnist, I am a staff member) can’t write letters to the Editor. Also, as a side note, I mention three of Amanda’s articles. Amanda– you are a great writer and I appreciate that you are writing about these issues. This is more a critique on the nature of the whole movement, as I think I express.
In a time of economic crisis, the Kansan should take a lead in truly defining the word “green.” As Courtney Brenamen said in Thursday’s article, Environmentalism on the decline in 2009, “The less you buy, the greener you are.” The Kansan seems to have missed this point. The front page story of February 17 was How to eat sustainable sushi. The main story for February 11 was How to have a green valentine’s day. These stories are about what to buy in order to be green. It is not just the Kansan sucked into this trend—from Sigg water bottles to canvas shopping bags, the current environmental movement is tied to consumerism.
The issue? We are in an economic downtown. If being green is misconstrued and marketed as an expense or a luxury, then people worried about finances will never go for it. Already, the financial crisis has taken its toll on the environmental movement. In a recent report by Pew Institute about the top twenty issues are important to Americans, the environment dropped to number 16, falling 15% points. Concerns about the economy rose to number 1.
But being green is so much more. Being green is about conserving energy and living sustainably. Being green is about saving money by consuming wisely and limiting the waste we produce. Yet people don’t seem to understand that. One example is the response to a Lawrence Journal World Poll. The poll asked if we need a director of sustainability. Seventy three percent of those polled said no, citing the cost of creating a position as the reason. What those voters don’t realize is that the director would be charged with looking for ways to cut the city’s energy bill and to make use of resources more efficient. In the end, the hiring of a director would probably cut overall costs, not increase them.
In these times, we need more stories about how greener lifestyles can save us money. If we really want to be a cutting edge paper, we would offer stories like that. We would show students not where to buy luxury green goods, but how to reduce their carbon footprint AND their gas bill. (363)
–Brenna Daldorph, junior, Lawrence
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