Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Season of the Green

I got a Christmas card from an old friend who told me she's been keeping up with me by the blog. Again, you just can't measure the benefits.

"I read your post on shopping bags," she added. "It made you sound greener than Kermit."

Made me smile.

Not so green
I'm not of course. Christine--who's giving away two boxes of foam peanuts this morning in some recycling cult she's become involved in--noted that we have two cars, partly out of convenience, which means we lose any green bragging rights, right there. (Sentence amended for clarification 12/23 .)

But it was also Christine who observed a bit of a remedy to the sadness about commercialism lamented endlessly as this holiday season seeps slowly away.

Bill's journal again
We were watching Bill Moyers Journal again, y'see, the same guy who prompted me to post observations about

He had on Dr. Benjamin Barber, author of Consumed, who had a lot to say about the dangers of a debtor culture driven to 4 a.m. pre-Christmas sales at Wal-Mart.

Maybe it was the Third World
Among other interesting things about the free market and the Third World, he said capitalists must get back to being capitalists of old - taking risks and meeting human needs to earn their profits.

He cited Life Straw®, as a company that's done just that, earning a fortune selling $2 drinking filters that save Third World people from river blindness.

And consumers must be smart consumers, Dr. Barber added, spending dollars wisely:

"We are the gatekeepers for our kids and our families. We have to be tougher."

Oh no, it's the soap box
Spend a dollar on a practical product--Christine noted as we watched--with, say, a company that sells something made by a Guatemalan family business that practices fair trade.

And think twice about dropping a dime at a megastore that lures you out at 2 a.m., pays low wages, provides no health insurance for employees and drives quaint local shops out of business as it fuels a culture of greed and desires that leads to a goodwill gesture making an old lady fear for her life.

I'm not as perfect as I wannabe nor as green. I don't claim to be.

That's just the kind of green I want to be.


Charles Gramlich said...

Lana and I were trying to find a place near us that recycles and have had no luck. right now it looks like I'd have to haul recyclables nearly 50 miles to the nearest recycling center. That's ridiculous.

Sidney said...

Oh yeah, you reach a point of diminishing returns.

Lana Gramlich said...

Sometimes being green & socially conscious seems fairly impossible. In our case, sometimes the only choices are Hel*Mart or a 70 mile drive. What's the responsible solution to that equasion, y'know?

Sidney said...

It's almost impossible to avoid some stores, and that's also a matter of diminishing returns...traveling forever, losing money on gas, burning more gas and losing time.

That's where, I think, the item chosen can be most significant.

Christine has hammered into me that a purchase choice is a vote.

That's why--though I don't do it well enough, believe me I'm no grand example--it's good to stay informed and vote wisely with each purchase, whenever possible "voting" for the company making the best effort -- if there is one.

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