Friday, December 3, 2010

Going Green for Green

Almost every newspaper or magazine has an article on going green. I'm behind these efforts.

The media have stepped up to educate consumers to the reality that this is exactly what we're doing - consuming. Then they show us how we can balance our consumption and even turn it around.

The green approach might, as a side, help sell green products. It is media's reason for pitching green some cynics suggest. I say hurrah to the endeavor whatever the intention that lies behind it.

There will always be marketing. If some products pitched to the public actually have gentler agents in them or appliances are engineered to require less electricity or water I say more power to the process.

Niches are continually being created for the new. Right now green is an effective niche. It plays to the need for all of us to seriously examine our right to consume without regulation even if it's only self-regulation.

Turning off lights and TV when not in use, walking or biking to cut some necessary car travel (yes, Starbucks coffee counts as necessary trips at times) and reworking and rethinking how we use energy pays back in terms of responsibly conserving.

The commitment to recycle, reuse and reinvent saves in the pocket. More importantly it adds to the global movement to treat our Earth more kindly.

In our household we work at being diligent in returning grocery bags to the store. We use the bags until they're in sad condition. Limp and thin from wear their next journey can only be to the recycling bin.

We run in streaks. Sometimes we get the bags along with us every time. Just like that. Then we go through a period of not remembering. As I tug the store's brown bags out from under to fill with groceries I try not to think of trees being cut. "Sorry," I tell the bag. "This time we forgot."

For quite awhile I've watched people bring their own totes. Many of the totes have store logos on them. They're used for shopping at that particular store. But some totes are taken all around town.

It looks crisp and very European to have a shopper tote dangling from the arm. It makes the shoppers look like thinkers and planners. I'm going shopping and I'm prepared is their mantra as they set out toting their totes.

The idea of joining the shopper tote people grew on me. The other day a dark-green tote caught my eye. It was selling at a check-out counter at the local store. It appeared durable. It had a classy look. It was a size I like, not overlarge but big enough to hold the food items I often run in for.

I turned to the fellow who was filling the nearby candy racks. "I really should buy this," I said to him.

"You really should," he answered agreeably, looking up.

"I will but not this time," I told him. I wheeled the cart to a counter that was open. Since I had to wait in line anyway I followed my original impulse. I went back for the tote.

"You convinced me to buy it," I told the man still shelving Snicker bars and other favorites which my resolve not to buy had made me feel virtuous.

"And I don't even work here," he said with a grin. He appeared happy to assist the store that gives his company business.

I was happy to finally own a shopper bag. So everybody was happy and I only had to pay $1.50 for the green save-the-world-this-is-a-start grocery tote.

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