What it means to be “green”

I keep hearing the catchphrase “green,” and it seems to mean many different things.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2008 12:00am
  • Opinion

I keep hearing the catchphrase “green,” and it seems to mean many different things.

But while the word “green” is relative, there’s no doubt being green or going green is the thing to do these days.

Almost three-quarters of the U.S. population buys organic products occasionally. Between 2005 and 2006 the sale of organic non-food items increased 26 percent, from $744 million to $938 million, according to the Organic Trade Association.

Of course, the movement has caught on fastest here in the Northwest, a place always on the leading edge of environmental trends from curbside recycling to anti-sprawl urban planning.

The word “green” is used to describe products, services and lifestyles and seems to be a more politically correct term for things that might formerly have been called “environmentalist” or “conservationist” — labels that have become tainted from association with some radical groups.

Maybe the popularity of the term shows that as a society, we are starting to recognize our actions — or inactions — can result in undesirable consequences.

Or maybe it’s that businesses are using the term “green” to get more “green” — responding to a growing segment of people interested in doing the right thing for the environment.

So with this being our “Go Green” issue and with Earth Day approaching, I thought I would share with readers what “green” means to me. It’s much more than just my mother’s favorite color.

If you want to be green, you need to cut down on your use of energy. You can do this by turning off a light whenever you leave the room, or unplugging anything that you are not using even if you turn it off. You can recycle and even install solar panels on your house — if you have the dough for that.

I know converting all the way green costs a lot of green, so I’m not suggesting to go out and spend your child’s college fund on a hydrogen-powered car. But I am saying the little things — like recycling and not keeping the Christmas lights on until Easter — can go a long way.

I know I am not enlightening the masses with my definition of “green.”

I admit, I’m not hip to the hundreds of green terms and labels that are out there. And I’m not alone.

When the market research firm Hartman Group asked devout green consumers what the USDA “organic” seal meant on a product, 43 percent did not know. (The seal means the product is at least 95 percent organic – no pesticides, synthetic hormones, sewage sludge, irradiation or cloning.)

But I do know one thing: If being “green” means you take more time and effort to preserve the Earth and its habitat then I’ll be green until I’m blue in the face.

More in Opinion

The soul of history | Windows and Mirrors

Syrian arts curator and cultural advisor shares how art can tell the story of history.

A closer look at Emerald Heights expansion | Letter

In his Feb. 8 letter to the editor, a 13-year-old kid writes… Continue reading

All quiet on the car tab front in Washington legislature

Several bills have been introduced, but none made it to a hearing.

What happens after the bin? | Guest editorial

Behind the scenes at the recycling center.

Why public libraries matter more than ever in the information age | Book Nook

Public libraries are places that are free and welcoming to people of all backgrounds.

Three years in the making: New law on police use of deadly force

Legislators are about to pass a bill that will permit officers to kill only in “good faith.”

Combating bigotry | Windows and Mirrors

Author and journalist Jonathan Weisman visited the Stroum Jewish Community Center to as part of the center’s “Words to the Wise” series.

Fraudster-in-Chief | Letter

In October 2016, a neighbor explained to me he was supporting then-presidential-candidate… Continue reading

Thank you Rep. DelBene | Letter

The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act has just… Continue reading

Male-only no more: The next House Speaker will be a woman

The Frank Chopp era will end soon. Everett’s Robinson is among a crowd of women who may seek the job.

In 2019 less is more | Guest editorial

Some tips on how to be more green in the new year.

Paying twice for their mistakes | Windows and Mirrors

Southeast Asians are at greater risk of being deported to countries many haven’t been to since they were young or have never been to.