Monday, November 17, 2008

Making sense of eco-confusion: An open letter to an op-ed writer

Dear Kelly Jones Sharp,

Today I finally caught up with the stack of newspapers in our break room, and your column jumped out from me on the op-ed page. Trapped in a mix of politics and who's to blame for the economy, the headline "Even being green can be too much of a good thing" truly stood out.

But after reading 15 inches or so your writings, I'm convinced that you've succummed to the mass confusion and hype about being green.

Being green isn't about buying the latest, greatest, greenest product on the market. And it's not about flogging yourself for not springing for organic milk or eggs grown down the street.

Being green is about being mindful. It's about making small choices that, combined with the efforts of others, paves the way for a healthier community now and for years to come.

Maybe you're tired of all the hype. Sure, it seems that every label out there has slapped the word "green" in there somewhere, but I for one appreciate the fact that companies are starting to wake up and realize that environmentally friendly products may be a priority for some of us. And if you're still confused, there are plenty of green, simple and inexpensive choices for cleaning out there. Like baking soda or vinegar, to get you started.

Even if you're burnt out on the jargon - making sense of organic vs. locally grown vs. labelling, I'm worried you're on the cusp of giving up completely. Your column has me worried. You write:

Is my salad just a Bigfoot Audrey sucking down the carbon ("Feed me, Seymour!"),
with ingredients shipped from California, Florida, South America and New

How can I eat the way I'm supposed to if I give up over-fished tuna
and salmon and fruits and veggies from afar? It's not as though Central Indiana
is a hotspot for banana trees, orange groves and fish full of omega-3 fatty

Here's where you forget that being green is working with nature, not against it. The great thing about living seasonally is that we can still eat outside the "traditional" culinary box. You don't have to just eat corn to eat local Indiana foods. There are many, many local producers in Indiana - and things you may not consider. Just visit or pick up a copy of Home Grown Indiana if you don't believe me. Check out a late fall farmers market and enjoy something new for your Thanksgiving table.

Being green is about a culmination of simple steps. In the end, it's about consuming less and doing more with what you have.

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