Green living is a chosen lifestyle that is aimed at conservation of earth’s biodiversity and habitats and reservation of the earth’s and personal resources. It was until the effects of global warming became evident that humanity begun to reconsider the impact of their actions on planet earth. This is what inspired the green living concept. Otherwise stated, green living tries to lessen the impact of pollution and wastage by opting for a less wasteful and environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Essentially, green living is based on six principles; eco-friendly homes, clean energy, sustainable and healthy food, clean transportation, proper usage of water and proper disposal of waste. As much as green living is good for environmental sustainability, there are several myths arising that make people who choose this lifestyle to look like extremists and some that may be misleading to those living green. This article debunks the 15 surprising myths about green living.
Myth 1. Green living is for treehuggers
A lot of people hear the word green living and imagine a bunch of people sharing a house practicing farming or those who love trees or those who prefer the use of natural herbs. There is nothing wrong with preferring the hippie way of life but green living is for everybody. One doesn’t have to put herbs in their tea to be regarded as living the green lifestyle. It is actually the little changes that count like replacing paper wipes with hankies and kitchen towels.
Myth 2. Disposable plastic is impossible to do away with
Plastic currently is hard to do away with but disposable plastic can easily be gotten rid of. It is as simple as replacing disposable plastics with permanent or biodegradable items. For example, one can carry his or her own cloth bag to the supermarkets and stores for packaging at the checkouts. When shopping for cereals and other non perishable items, one can opt for bulk stores that allow returnable crates or the use of own jars and containers. One can alternatively reuse and recycle extra plastic at home. For example, plastic jars can be decorated and used as a vase for flowers.
Myth 3. Home products that are eco-friendly are expensive and hard to find
Eco-friendly products are products that pose no danger to the environment or to one’s health and are manufactured sustainably. There are many natural food stores, supermarkets and boutiques with eco-friendly products like cleaning supplies, clothes, appliances and furniture. They save a lot of expenses on one’s or family’s health or other living costs related expenses such as bills for lighting and heating.
Myth 4. Green living is expensive and boring
Jill Tokunaga of Hawaii gas says most people associate green living with inconvenient lifestyle changes and big expenses. The truth is that it is the small changes that make a difference. One doesn’t have to suddenly buy a home built of bamboo to be living green. A small change like preferring to walk to a destination that is twenty blocks away instead of driving there can make a lot of difference in the environment, one’s health and the wallet as well. Taking a minute to switch off every appliance and lights in the apartment is a change that is not drastic yet counts. One small change at a time is one step towards a cleaner and greener earth.
Myth 5. Hand washing is greener than using a dishwasher
Some ten years ago, yes, hand washing would have been greener than using a dishwasher. In this decade though, it all depends on the model of dishwasher you are using and the resources put into hand washing. There are modern dishwashers that are energy efficient and use less water. Rodalesorganiclife however shows that dishwashing could actually use more water that a modern energy efficient dishwasher. Furthermore, if you heat the water you use for dishwashing, you are better off loading the dishwasher. If you prefer to hand wash your dishes or are running on a tight budget, just separate the washing and rinsing water in two sinks or use one big bowl to hold the water for washing and scrubbing then rinse in the sink.
Myth 6. Sustainable ‘green food’ is expensive
Perhaps in the grocery, the eco-friendly options can be quite expensive. But don’t forget you can get eco-friendly produce elsewhere i.e. the farmer’s markets and directly from small scale farmers. The produce at the grocery store may have traveled miles to get to the store and that is one of the reasons this produce is expensive. The local farmer however does not include major transport costs which make the produce cheaper. The good thing about local produce is that small scale farmers use less if any chemicals for growth and ripening and gives one an option of knowing where the product is coming from.
Myth 7. Hybrid vehicles are more ‘green’ than non hybrid cars
The technology behind hybrid cars is the same and in the case of cars like the Honda civic, there is definitely good mileage. The same technology applied in hybrid trucks and SUV’s however, is not better than a non hybrid. Actually, some hybrids may use more gas than a non hybrid car and produce more pollution.
Myth 8. In green living, paper is preferable to plastic
This is a debate that is still going on. Some argue that paper for groceries is better than plastic because it is degradable. Paper however has more bulk than plastic therefore takes more resources to make. Some argue that during their longer lifetime, paper has more GHG emission than plastic. The better solution would be to carry your grocery in a reusable cloth bag because it is friendlier to the environment than either paper or plastic.
Myth 9. In green living, driving is preferred to flying
Well it depends. A plane may burn more fuel to fly to a destination than a car but it carries a lot of people in one flight. When comparing a flight carrying a hundred people to the same destination as a hundred cars driving a hundred people, the plane uses lesser fuel than a car. If however a car was carrying four or more people and carrying very little baggage, it would be more eco-friendly than the plane.
Myth 10. Green living is about the environment
Green living is about the environment but it is not only for the environment. Green living is about the earth’s people and their future generations. Reports on global warming though noticed go ignored by most. In fact, so many people are aware of global warming but they will not take action simply because they do not think its effects are as dire as reported. But looking beyond the existing generation, in the future if the current trend keeps up, the earth will not be as suitable for living as it is currently. Green living is all about saving humanity by saving the planet. The more dependent humanity is on artificial, processed and manufactured products, the more it magnifies to the brink of destroying the planet.
Myth 11. Green living is all about reusing and recycling
So many people think of recycling plastics and reusing them when they hear about green living. However, it is actually about going as eco-friendly as possible. It seems that in the majority of environmental movements, the enduring message was recycling so most people are stuck with that thinking. Green living’s aim is not just to recycle plastic and paper; it is to reduce energy, water and virgin material usage. As much as recycling plastic is great, zero usage of disposable plastics would be better.
Myth 12. Small changes do not really matter
Small changes are almost always what make the difference. One person alone cannot see much of a difference but when combined over time, the results are surprising. Besides, change begins with a single person and spreads to others, one change that is noticed and emulated by others can make a great difference.
Myth 13. Green living lifestyle is about depravity
Choosing to live green does not translate to depriving yourself of the things you love. It is about doing the things you love in an eco-friendly way or using the eco-friendly versions of the things you love. In other words, green living is not martyrdom so the drastic measures are not necessarily required.
Myth 14. To live green, you have to buy expensive new appliances
Not all new appliances are suitable for green living. First, check and research the new appliance you want to buy to ensure it is energy efficient and eco-friendly. That said, green living does not mean emptying your pockets to buy new appliances. One can instead make a change at a time by buying an eco-friendly appliance only when the budget feels right. Remember, just one small change will make a difference.
Myth 15. Green living means dropping off the grid
As much as dropping off the grid may reduce carbon footprint; luxury, expense and family are factors that should be considered keenly before making any decisions. Solar energy may be cleaner and off the grid but if dropping off is too expensive, one doesn’t need to strive so much to achieve it. Instead, go over the things at home that are not great for your health, that of the family or the environment. Keen analysis to see the things needed or not is the best strategy to use. If there are any of these things that are not needed, get rid of them.