Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Going green: Only in Barnes & Noble's coffers?

Sunday, I took part in a guilty pleasure: Wandering the aisles at Barnes & Noble. I was particularly interested in what's available regarding living a less environmentally-damaging lifestyle.

Was I surprised.

As Earth Day is today, the obligatory "Green" table was out. And the choices? About a dozen or so books. A mix of "how to be a lazy environmentalist," "renovating your house the green way" and "the earth is dying" books. Is there no middle ground?

I don't believe you can just buy your way to a better environment and treat your conscience as clean. Clutter is still clutter, and environmentally safer products in tough-to-recycle bottles still generate trash. Those are baby steps, but they don't totally eliminate the problems. I think, truthfully, you need to make wiser choices all around, even if they're slightly uncomfortable. Just like transitioning to healthier eating habits, true change takes time and commitment.

It'd be nice to find real resources on how to live a greener lifestyle. I'd love to redo my kitchen or flooring, install solar panels or do other expensive "green" projects, but it's just not going to happen. But I do believe there are many of us who want to do more for our environment, even if we can't afford big-ticket items. And I want to do more than buy a bottle of cleaner to make a difference in our environment. If there are other resources out there, I'd love to hear about them. Because it's the many, many small changes we take that are going to prevent the doomsday prognostications in some of the books on the green table.

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