Before I started turning green, I admit that I had a very narrow stereotype formed about environmentally-conscious individuals. In general, I believed they:
- Wore Birkenstocks (with socks in the fall and winter and bare feet in the spring and summer).
- Had long, straight, greasy-looking hair.
- Were politically, religiously, philosophically and socially liberal.
- Were typically vegetarians – and grew the majority of their own food.
- Cared more about saving the earth than people.
- Recycled everything – and wanted everyone to recycle everything.
- Lived in rustic-looking homes that weren’t so tidy or modern.
- Looked down on others who didn’t share their same priorities or practices.
Somehow, this list is still tucked away in my mind, because when acquaintances will mention how green I am, I openly scoff at the idea. And then I remember that I am green.
My shade of green is so drastically different than my preconceived idea of what green had to look like.
If I evaluate myself with my own previous checklist, am I stereotypically green?
- I’ve never worn Birkenstocks a day in my life. In fact, I very un-greenly own and wear a couple pairs of cheap plastic flip flops in the summer. (For the sake of my feet, I’m upgrading to sturdier sandals this year.)
- My hair is naturally curly, and I wash it daily with an all-natural shampoo to prevent a greasy look.
- I am politically, religiously, philosophically and socially conservative.
- I am a meat eater. (And I love a thick, juicy steak.)
- I care more about saving people than saving the earth. But I realize that the two go hand-in-hand – if the earth’s not a healthy or safe place to live, that drastically affects humans.
- I don’t recycle everything. My husband and I roll our garbage can to the curb each week. My recycling efforts have greatly improved, though.
- Based purely on the aesthetic preferences of me and my husband, our home does not look rustic. In fact, it looks pretty modern. And when our kids aren’t trashing rooms in their whirlwind-like patterns, our house is tidy.
- I don’t look down on others who don’t share my green priorities or practices. I do often wish these people would make some kind of healthier choices, though.
Why am I green?
Clearly, my “greenness” is radically different than my old, imaginary standards. I have chosen to make green choices because:
- I want to take care of my family.
- I want to take care of the Earth – because God entrusted it to us.
- I want to proactively protect my health.
- I want to save money.
- I want to go against this consumeristic, throw-away society and stop consuming and throwing away just because everybody else is doing it. As much as possible, I want to attempt to “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
That’s why I’m green. Why are you green? What are your own green stereotypes? How do you measure up to them?
All stereotypes aside, learn how you can green your own home! Hilary will be speaking about the topic at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 10, during Coffee Table Conversations.
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