11 May, 2009

Living Green

The first time I heard about living green was 22 years ago. I remember it vividly; I was in the third grade and it was Earth Day. I raced home to share with my parents all the things I had learned. I simply could not wait to implement all of my earth-loving tips. Shockingly and to my dismay, my parents were only half-heartedly interested in the ramblings of their eight year old.
Only now do I fully realize that the reality of life can be a big obstacle in our valiant quest to Live Green. Even for a third grader it was difficult to remember to turn off the lights when I left a room and the water when I brushed my teeth. Even then, hopping in the car was easier than hopping on the bike. Why are our best efforts often thwarted?
I think we are often overwhelmed by enormity of the problem. We imagine having to change our entire lifestyle. We get stuck in wanting to do too much and then end up doing nothing at all. Paul Murray, Director of Environmental Safety and Sustainability at Herman Miller addressed this very issue at a seminar I recently attended through ASID. His lecture was entitled, "The Power of One". He emphasized that it takes just one person who commits to implementing one small green idea to make a huge difference.
Then last weekend my family and I attended the Living Green Expo. Thousands of people milling around the State Fairgrounds on a beautiful day with their reusable totes, looking for ways to bring more "green" into their lives. I found it to be very inspirational. The ideas are truly endless. You just need to start.
Think small:

  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Shop at a co-op and buy local
  • Start composting
  • Use a rain barrel
  • Switch to compact fluorescent
  • Carpool

Then you can go big:

  • Look at energy alternatives - attempt to live off the grid
  • Build a green home or retrofit the one you have
  • Buy a car with alternative fuel sources
  • Take your ideas to your business

I realize these are not new ideas, but let it serve as another reminder to take action.
And you'll be happy to know my parents, now in their mid fifties, enjoy using their compost to nourish their ever-growing vegetable garden. Maybe they really were listening.
Written by Emily Anderson, Interior Designer at LiLu Interiors

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