Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Green Life Meets A Better Nation

I am signed up to receive a "green tip" Monday-Friday from "The Green Life," an online publication of the Sierra Club. Recipients of the tips are encouraged to comment. Here is today's Green Tip, followed by my comments, slightly revised:

How many parts of your outfit could be green? Take a look at your shirt, nylon and polyester suck up fossil fuel during their manufacture. These synthetics are a fashion don't -- keep an eye out for recycled polyester or alternative fabrics, like bamboo or hemp. Moving on down to your feet, why not try investing in shoes that use vegetable-tanned leather or organic materials, like canvas or cotton. Once they are worn out, try getting them resoled instead of buying a new pair.

Again, another CUTE tip, but more a (goody two green shoes) fashion statement than real change. Someone has already compared this to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; that's a great analogy. Let's keep our eyes (and efforts) on the prize. Green Tips, the Green Life and the Sierra Club often think INSIDE the Green Box. It's almost as if they are more concerned that we FEEL good than that we DO good.

Yes, synthetics save enough dryer time to make up for their manufacture (I hang all of mine even in the winter, indoors, so NO dryer time). And what of the efficiency of making clothes in big batches, as opposed to boutique clothes that do cost more, partly based on the inefficiency of their manufacture, and which may not be as convenient/close to find?

Yes, as has been said, buying more items of all sorts second hand is a great way to go. How about the economics of buying cheap clothes and using the money you save to support environmental organizations such as the NRDC, Earthjustice, or The Wilderness Society, those fighting the legal battles to protect what's left. That's the ticket.

The money is more important than the material, even leather. Example: don't buy $150 "Earth friendly" shoes, ever! Find some shoes on sale for $60, send $25 to an environmental protector, and save the $65 for a rainy (or globally cooked) day. Example: don't buy a $60 shirt, ever, even if it is hemp! Buy a $25 shirt on sale, and spend $25 on supporting the legal battles that do the most good, and have $10 in savings -- compared to one $60 shirt. Find a shirt used for $10, just once, and have $50 to spend or save wisely. Doing this just a few times a year, especially if you make that $25 contribution to a good cause, really makes a difference.

Also, for gosh sakes (and we know this but need to be reminded often), don't make special trips to shop for clothes or anything else. You know the scoop: combine errands for your basic needs only. And this year, how many new clothes do you really need? Clothes moratoriums build more character than owning cute vegan shoes.

The problem is, in forums like this (a list of Sierra Club devotees), we are preaching to the choir (and it turns out even a majority of the choir want to stick to the pretty songs that don't get down and dirty testing their faith). The real work is to see if we, we of the deep green, we the a-greedy do-gooders, the faithful choir with our friendly foibles and self-righteous local tips, ironic trials and global targets, can reach the congregation, more than a few billion strong. The real work is to see if we can reach the helmsmen in time to steer than big ship away from the iceberg (before it melts and leaves us high..... and dry).


At 9/24/2007 7:42 PM, Blogger 1rfruth said...

Not sure why but some folks think doing the 'green' thing means spending big money (25K for a hybrid or $ 500.00 on attic insulation) when lots of times its the inexpensive things that are needed most.


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