Overwhelmed by Green? Here's How to Fight Green Fatigue
I admit that even I, someone whose chosen profession is writing about all the ins and outs of the green world, can get overwhelmed with it all. There are days when I really can't stand the idea of reading one more report about the current state of climate change science, some new product announcement of dubious quality or green benefit, another statement about how awful for the planet it is to do (insert whatever you happen to like to do). Believe me, I completely understand how headache-inducing it can all be. If that's how you feel too, then here are some short suggestions (don't worry, it's not another list of 100 ways to go green) on how to get past your green fatigue:
Don't Know Where to Begin? Do These Two Things
With the preponderance of quick green tips out there, it's pretty easy to get spun around and not know which ones to start with. If that's your source of green fatigue, then do these two things and you'll be making two very positive green changes in your life.
The first is to sign up with a green power program with your utility. I know it's not perfect, but based on average US electrical usage you'll reduce your personal carbon emissions by close to seven tons.
The second is to seriously cut down on your meat-eating. While adopting an entirely vegetarian diet would be better, simply not eating meat on weekdays will knock about 1400 lbs of carbon emissions off your personal carbon footprint.
Think You Can't Afford to Go Green? Nonsense
In these economic times it may be tempting to think that you can't afford to go green. To that I say nonsense! Some of the greenest things you can do actually save you money.
Becoming a weekday vegetarian, like I just suggested, will actually reduce the money you spend on food. All that conspicuous consumption, new electronics, or new clothes don't really help the environment that much. Sure, buy the greenest product you can, when you need something new, but not buying anything new at all is even better. Repairing and or making do with the things you have is generally the best way to go for preserving your bank balance and natural resources.
Feeling a bit better? Check out these frugal green ideas.
Depressed About the State of the Planet?
If you're an avid follower of green news, particular the harder green news about climate change, natural resource depletion and pollution it is really easy to get depressed, thinking we're really going to hell in the proverbial hand-basket. Things can seem pretty grim, but here are a couple of genuine green success stories.
The California Condor population was as low as eight individuals in the 1980s, but through conservation efforts, chicks were reintroduced into the wild in 2002.
India declares traditional herbs 'public property' to protect them from being patented by any corporation, thereby ensuring that control of centuries-old knowledge can't be taken from its citizens and sold back to them. It may seem like a small victory to some, but it genuinely lifts my heart.
Here's an obscure one, but it's still a success: Gainesville, Florida establishes a feed-in tariff for solar power. Why is this uplifting? Because even though they are popular and successful in Europe for promoting renewable energy, and less expensive than any of the methods in the United States I might add, they have not seen much favor here. Perhaps its because they are seen as not market-based enough. Whatever the reason, it genuinely encourages me to know that there is a community thinking outside the US's normal boundaries and doing the right thing.
CFCs. OK, so there is still a hole in the ozone layer, but thanks to the treaty to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals it's expected that the ozone layer will repair itself by 2050. The agreement in question is the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete The Ozone Layer and has been hailed by former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan as the "most successful international agreement to date". It may be difficult, but international cooperation is possible and can be effective.
Just Stressed Out About it All?
Sometimes it's not the issues that get to you, but just the concentration on change. Well, if you're looking for possibly the greenest ways to de-stress yourself, primarily because you really don't need to buy any fancy gear to do them and don't have to go anyplace special to participate, then you can't go far wrong with simply taking a long walk (or short hike depending how you view things), sitting down to meditate, or practice some yoga asanas. (Those too were protected from patent by India recently...)