J500 Media and the Environment


To be Green or not to be Green…What does this Really Mean? by erinleap
June 22, 2009, 9:27 pm
Filed under: J840 Week 2, Waste + Recycling | Tags: , ,

Being green is a term I like to use loosely. If you recycle, drive a hybrid, take reusable bags to the grocery store and pack your lunch in reusable containers, does this mean you’re green? Or does talking about ways to be sustainable and environmentally friendly enough to be considered green? Or is it a combination of the both, walking the walk and talking the talk, to be considered a guru of green culture?

I don’t think it’s one particular thing a person can do to be considered green but more the way a person thinks and understands what it means to be green. Before I showed up to class on Friday, I considered myself a relatively green person. For example, I recycle endlessly. Little did I know I’m better off avoiding products packaged with plastic than to recycle the package after I’m through with it. The amount of energy it takes to either produce the plastic or recycle it after its initial use can be more environmentally harmful than if I were to avoid buying it altogether.

Note that prevention is at the top while recycling is towards the bottom.

The "Waste Hierarchy"-note that prevention is at the top while recycling is towards the bottom.

And here I thought I was being an environmentally good citizen of the world for recycling every single piece of plastic I used. I’m starting to see I have the “what” down of being green but I need to brush up on the “how” and “why” to better understand this loose term “being green.” I know what I’m doing to try to be green but I don’t fully understand why I’m doing it or how it’s impacting the environment in the end.

I’m taking another course this summer in which I am reading the book, Freakonomics. I’ve started to follow the Freakonomics blog, and I have to say, there are some pretty entertaining but great points being made. In particular, I read an entry that illustrates my point above. It’s important to know the why of what you’re doing and how it’s affecting the environment and others around you before you should be allowed to considered yourself a guru of all things green.

-Erin Pursel

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5 Comments so far
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Erin, I agree completely with your post. I too came to class thinking that I was already a relatively green person. But I quickly learned that there are more things that I can do to be more green. Luckily, the idea that I wasn’t as green as a I thought didn’t discourage me. It just excited me more. I’m ready to learn more things about being environmentally friendly and I’m excited to share with friends and family. I hope you’re excited too for all the good that hopefully can be done for our friend Mother Earth. Have a great day and great post!
~ Maggie K.

Comment by Maggie K.

Erin, I agree completely with your post. I too came to class thinking that I was already a relatively green person. But I quickly learned that there are more things that I can do to be more green. Luckily, the idea that I wasn’t as green as a I thought didn’t discourage me. It just excited me more. I’m ready to learn more things about being environmentally friendly and I’m excited to share with friends and family. I hope you’re excited too for all the good that hopefully can be done for our friend Mother Earth. Have a great day and great post!
~ Maggie K.

Comment by maggiekol

Hi Erin,
The waste-hierarchy pyramid is a great example of how behaviors fall into a “range of green shades.” The site you found it on– http://www.wasteonline.org.uk –explains what happens to our trash or recycling after it leaves the curb. This makes me think about the entire concept of garbage/trash/waste. After we’re “done” with something, many of us were raised to think it’s erased from our lives. That doesn’t mean it’s erased from the planet, or even closer to home, our water supply, air or landfill.
-Monica Delaorra

Comment by monicadela

It’s good to know I’m not the only one who came to class with a “big green head.” 🙂 I’m eager to learn more as well and am excited about our guest speakers, particularly the Director of Communications from Seventh Generation, as I use their cleaning products. Stay cool out there-I feel like today is a prime example of global warming at its finest!

-Erin P.

Comment by erinleap

Monica, I agree with what you said about the “Waste Hierarchy.” I think many people don’t realize what happens or where their own trash/waste goes once their “done” with it. I started to think about how much trash I must have accumulated over time and it’s kind of frightening to think about, let alone the combination of an entire planet’s population of accumulated trash. Yikes.

-Erin P.

Comment by erinleap




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