Easier Being Green

So today, I heard Joel Makower of GreenBiz.com forecast the future of green business. I heard about the importance of communicating green efforts, and the ways in which businesses are good – or not so good – at broadcasting their “random acts of greenness.” 

But that’s not what I want to talk about! Makower displayed a slide of Kermit the Frog, then explained that the search phrase, “Easy being green,” results in millions of results on Google. And yet, if it’s so easy to be green, asks Makower, why are businesses having such a hard time strategically greening their operations and marketing themselves as eco-friendly companies?

Then a scary thing happened. Makower started showing slides of articles and BLOGS called “easy being green.” Thankfully, my “easier” saved me, and my blog did not make it on to the hot seat. I do think, however, the ball is in my court to explain what exactly I think I mean by calling this blog “easier being green.”

When I started writing in the fall of 2007, I was, shall we say, pretty green about the whole “green” thing – as in, I was not an environmental studies major, and I certainly had never protested the building of anything on wetlands. I’d been a vegetarian for years, mostly because I didn’t like the taste of meat, but I left all my cell phone and computer chargers plugged in overnight. As I started reading about “green” for my job, I learned that “green” is a lot of common sense – a different kind of common sense than traditional capitalism, but not much different – just smarter.

My goal is not to gloss over the difficulty in being “green,” or in figuring out exactly what “green” is. Quantifying your electricity, water, waste and carbon savings is tough enough, but that’s not even the whole picture. How sustainable is your product? How toxic are the materials used? What does the supply chain look like? Being “green” is not easy. I know this. In my day job, I call Minnesotan men in greater Minnesota to try to help them green their businesses (I say men because 90% of the women I talk to are secretaries). The ratio of positive responses to angry ones is pretty bad.

I think what I mean by “easier being green” is “I think it’s easier being a little bit more green than you are right now,” and “It’s easier to become a little bit more green than you think.” Green is tainted by finger pointing and claimed by the elite. Green in the past has meant wealthy – activist – Marin. But the tides are turning. A green mindset is easy. Achieving green perfection is less easy. But we human beings are smart. We’ll get there.

In de-mystifying “green” by making it easier, I hope to democratize it. That’s all.

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