07 January 2011

The top misleading myths about going green (part two)

Part one of this article dealt with a few pervasive notions about why greening up one's act seems easily dismissible. We're so glad that you've returned to the scene of the crime for the remainder of our top myths, because that simple effort suggests that perhaps you're really and truly an eager greenie-in-training who is sincerely interested in making 2011 all about 'doing' rather than making excuses. We applaud you for being open to change. So does your planet :)

It's what crazy extremists do.

I can understand how those who are on the threshold of the green movement might be digging their heels in, not quite sure if or when they should commit based on a few antiquated and flat out silly notions. First off, yes, there are a few tree huggers out there who lean to the loopy side of crazy (my own Aunt included) but then again, there are plenty of wackadoodle people in the mainstream population, too.

If you think that going green will instantly brand you as a cuckoo granola nut, then you are dead wrong. In fact, shun the notion that anyone really even cares what you are doing with your lifestyle -- make the commitment to do it for your own conscience, and if not for you, then for your children or your sibling's family. Secondly, living an earth-friendly lifestyle does not require that you abandon your razors or body care products or dedication to personal grooming. You can be squeaky clean and well-put-together and still live in a way that honors resource conservation.

It requires a lot of time and dedication.

As with any habit, it takes a period of time to adopt a new behavior into your lifestyle and then before long, you can do it in your sleep. As a pre-teen, I recall my city implementing a recycling program for the very first time and I actually thought to myself what a pain in the neck it was going to be. At that point in time, I was put in charge of all of my household's recycling efforts and low and behold...once I got into the swing of things, I started feeling pretty good about it.

Ask any seasoned recycler how long it takes them to collate their materials and they'll probably say that it doesn't...they just do it in the very same flat second that other households are chucking things in their garbage cans. It literally is a matter of flipping a switch on in your brain and embracing the effort to reduce your negative impact on the environment.

It's too hard to implement in my life.

Really...it's not. Like Nike says, just do it. As with anything else in life, it may take a little bit of time to get accustomed to implementing the changes, but once you're riding the bike, you'll never forget how to maintain your balance. Living a greener lifestyle is somewhat like living a selfish, wasteful lifestyle in that instead of throwing things out, you're saving them. Ixnay on the garbage can, all hail the recycling bin. It is the complete opposite mindset of what all of us might have formerly embraced, but once it becomes the norm, you're on auto pilot and running a tip-top green ship.

It's about sacrifice rather than choice and commitment.

No, no, no -- you aren't giving up your freedom or ability to live your life the way you desire. You actually never really wanted to use up and spit out stuff like it was yesterday's news...you just got sucked into the consumerism trap. You never worried about or realized that there was a measurable consequence each time you discarded the material items in your life. Truth be told, all of that stuff you accumulated in your personal environment has never really even made you all that happy, has it? So, what are you really giving up?

By changing your lifestyle to one that conserves rather than perpetually purchases and purges, the only thing you are sacrificing is material misery. Finally, you are taking back the reins of your life and navigating a course of liberation from stores, superfluous spending, plastic junk and toxic food and doing something to create a better cleaner greener future for Mother Nature. Take a deep breath, embrace your decision and stay the course -- it feels good, right?

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
Elizah Leigh's master's degree in education combined with her passion for the written word and deep-seated interest in environmental issues has proven to be the ideal trifecta for her present status as a green journalist. Currently commissioned to write a reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/cellphonesusie