Mother Earth Monday – So You Call Yourself Eco-Friendly?

You only by organic foods perhaps. Maybe you make sure to attend all of the biggest earth-first style events around the country. You plant a tree one a year and drive a tiny hybrid car to minimize fuel use. Good for you. Guess what, you may not be all that better than the person next to you in the giant SUV who buys everything from whoever happens to be cheapest.

There, I said it. Year round organics aren’t coming from around the corner, they are getting shipped in from other countries. It takes a lot of fuel to bring that bright red tomato from Brazil to your plate in the middle of winter. It takes a lot of fuel to get yourself over to all of those eco-events. Electric car? Nice thought, but since most places in the country get their energy from burning fossil fuels, you are just changing the location the burn happens. Oh, and that tree you planted. I didn’t forget about it. Buy one cut of beef raised in a rain-forested country and you already find yourself at a deficit.

So what do I expect of you? Nothing. Do whatever you feel is right, but do so knowing that unless you are living on less energy than is used by the average person, you really aren’t being all that earth friendly and you certainly aren’t being sustainable. If you really want to try being helpful, try for zero-sum lifestyle.

Buy locally. Even if they are using a large tractor, it probably uses less than the mode of transport per unit. Buy seasonally. Things in season can be found locally much more readily and cheaply than things shipped from distant places. Walk more, or use bike. Is it slower? Sure, but do you really need to fire up your vehicle to go a block away to the corner store? Also, is the exercise really such a bad thing?

Don’t just take things at face value. Actually think about what you are doing and buying instead of accepting that it has some word listed on it. Our regulatory bodies allow for petroleum products in Organic frozen goods for example! Some Certified Organics have been provably found to be GMO contaminated as far back as 2002. Sort of makes the Certification meaningless doesn’t it? Do some research, figure out what companies are doing their utmost and which are just meeting the pathetic minimum standards. Figure out what your ‘eco’ choices are really costing environmentally.

What are your thoughts?

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