Friday, November 20, 2009

Consume Greenly

I am a long time environmentalist. I have always been fascinated with the complexity of nature and the complexity of life. My scientific lifestyle started early and I have been exposed to some pretty amazing science. I have been an advocate for change for quite a while now and it is refreshing to see my concerns about the environment being a conscious revolution in human culture. Awareness is great, but only action results in our future. As such, I migrated my lifestyle to match my convictions in both my personal and professional career. I have been doing this for 5 years now and it has its ups and downs. Being passionate about the future of our planet and being involved in the day to day business of green is a challenge. I approached companies years ago to propose green portfolios and was turned down. Many of these companies, since, have changed and gone “green”. Well, It is a start and I am glad that market pressure is now behind the green message and challenge. This is a big positive for our environment.

What changes have I made to increase my “greenness”? I have been working in a home office for 5 years ( paperless ). I do not use a cellphone for business ( as they represent e-waste and planned obsolescence, in my business philosophy). I do not own a car: I ride my bike, use the INTERNET for business communications and “rent” transportation as required ( trains, carpool for trips to the cottage ). I do not purchase highly-processed foods. I do not have any gas-hobbies ( motorbiking, helicopters, racing cars ). I do not travel by plane. I repair items and buy things I need, not want. I have simplified my wardrobe to natural materials and some fleece ( leather, cotton etc. ). I have looked at each of my “processes” and tried to make the best "green" choice, a choice that makes a positive impact on our environment. Making these changes gives me a pretty good perspective on going green. It is a balance of consumption and existence. I can improve and get green still. We all can.

Of course the new market is filled with "snake oil". The same marketing companies that sold its market the "lifestyle of consumption" and greed is now switching gears to promote a “green” twist, at any cost ( Rolls Royce builds its cars in a green sustainable factory - but is buying a Roll Royce a benifit to our planet? ). I look at a lot of “Top 100 Green Company Lists” and see the same companies that brought us to this level of consumption, waste and pollution to being with. Banks, Car Companies, Chemical Companies, Computer Companies, Consumer Product Companies. Banks that fund damaging companies. Car companies that thought bigger was better and branded luxury as social status. Electronics/Computer companies that sell products that are obsoleted quicker resulting in e-waste. Consumer Products that claim to be "green". On these lists, on occasion, we actually see an innovative company making a difference. A technology company or alternative energy company. The sources of solutions, not the problems. Sometimes these companies that are making a difference are bought by bigger competing companies and do not use the technology.

Some feel that being "green" means doing things greener. I do not. It would be refreshing to see the “green” label used for things that are green, not greener. Running a company that destroys our environment in a more sustainable manner should not be considered, but, when companies can charge money for a "rubber green" stamp of approval, "green" is lost in consumerism.

People hold the power of choice. The buying decisions of the public and consumption habits of each of us have the largest impact on our environment. What we buy, what we do not. So, when you are making a purchase, think of all the factors behind what you are buying and what the product is. It is our future, so, make some changes in your life and get activated on improving our environment. I have made my choices and I feel comfortable in my science behind my decisions.

I think that this is important for my business as it gives me tools to understand any company and show them how to be green. I have turned down “green” jobs: greener cellphones and a myriad of useless “landfill” plastic products that will not last. Items that hurt our environment. I think it is responsible and I like to lead by example. I feel it is the only credible way and honest approach to what I believe in.


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