It ain’t easy being green

The color of environmental awareness is green. This is no accident. The word was attributed because it connotes nature in all its organic splendor. Plants are green. Algae is green. Chlorophyll makes leaves green. Asparagus is green. My face after eating asparagus is green. So, it makes sense that a public movement toward environmental awareness would be associated with that particular color.

Who would argue against nature? It’s natural, after all. We are part of nature and nature is all around us. Or it would be if we let it. The sad fact of the matter is that, for the most part, we ignore nature when it is inconvenient to think about it. We drive our cars, we air condition our homes, we eat, play, work and generate the waste of living. Our choices have always been about making our lives comfortable. The only hills in Houston are the ones created over landfills full of the garbage of the fourth largest city in the nation. Our water has to be processed so much that it corrodes the pipes and is so full of chemicals it discolors porcelain. Ever check the tank on your toilet? I doubt it’s pure white. Heck, out here in Katy, our flapper lever corroded into pieces.

But that is the price of having running water in our homes and paying someone to haul away our trash. It has to go somewhere and we don’t really want to know where as long as it is not near us. We don’t want to hear about emissions while we drive out SUVs. We don’t want to hear about oil tanker leaks as long as we have heating oil and gasoline.

So what do we do about it? We wouldn’t do anything except that it is all over the media and in the marketplace. Oh, don’t get all indignant on me, I’m speaking in general terms as a population. Several people I know have always recycled and used durable shopping bags or baskets and never uses plastic or Styrofoam. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. It’s all over the media. Several celebrities have made it a cause to get as many people as they can to conserve resources and think green. It has been marketed to us in ads, and in product placements and even in infomercials. Ed Begley Jr. even did a special on HGTV where he demonstrated his “Green” home. The man pulled out the lawn and replaced it with Astroturf. He catches and filters rainwater from the gutters of his house. He ripped out perfectly good vinyl floors and replaced them with bamboo laminate flooring because it was labeled ‘renewable.’ He created piles of garbage in his effort to be green.

Think about that. How cool would it be to have an Astroturf lawn? Never needing to mow again. No worries about grass fungus. No fertilizer. No insect infestations. Just terribly uncomfortable plastic carpeting that doesn’t produce oxygen in front of your house. What a world.

Green is now the watchword in the supermarket as well. Several of your common cleaners now have a “Green” labeled version (that doesn’t work). Your favorite foods have “Organic” versions that feature all natural ingredients and environmentally friendly production and packaging and taste like cardboard. These “green” and “organic” versions are significantly more expensive that the typical products you may be used to buying. But you are encouraged to buy the more expensive one because it is environmentally friendly and natural and who would argue against nature? It is all about the marketing, and marketing means money.

I’m not saying that we don’t need to be more conscious of the world around us. We do generate more garbage than can be disposed. Nor would I suggest that we do not need alternative energy sources. Oil has to run out. We are using it faster than it can be created naturally. We have the same problem with coal. Hydrogen power is not the answer because if you burn hydrogen, it is destroyed that same as anything else. Eventually, we may find ourselves with a global water shortage. No, water is not the answer. Is it solar? Wind? Time will tell. Time and money.

Yes, green is the color of nature. So the Green movement is all about expensive renewable resources and expensive organic and natural products. It is the green movement because green is also the color of money. That, my friends, is what green is all about.

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