The holidays are upon us and so are the ubiquitous eco-friendly shopping guides. Not that long ago, such articles were uncommon and often relegated to lesser known websites and publications but this giant step forward is not without its issues. For example, Marni Pyke wrote a piece called "Eco-friendly gifts for the holidays," for the Chicago Daily Herald. It opens like this:
"Shopping for a tree-hugging friend who's got everything?"
Of course, it's good that mainstream publications are suggesting their readers opt for gifts made from recycled materials but, let's be 100% clear: By definition, your "tree-hugging" does not and would not have "everything" and would most likely be thrilled with, say, a year's pass to a state park or a used gift or perhaps just a song or poem. The goal isn't to replace consumerism with green consumerism. The goal is, well, to change our culture from the ground up.
In that same Chicago Herald article, Kay McKeen, executive director of School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education is quoted as saying:
"We're trying to make it easy for people to make greener choices."
Again, it's progress that groups are working hard to make green shopping more accessible but the dark green choices we need to explore--the choices with the greatest impact on our eco-system--are, by definition not easy. To borrow once again from Collin Dunn:
- Recycling is greener; cradle-to-cradle, zero-waste design is green
- Hybrid cars are greener; bicycling is green
- Grass-fed beef is greener; not eating meat is green
Choosing the easy steps can be okay as a way to get started but it's by making the more difficult choices that we can change the world.6 First Steps Toward Making Less into So Much More