Monthly Archives: October 2012

Grocery Store Wars

When I first saw this video a few years ago, it definitely struck a chord. This adorably geeky parody played right into my love of Star Wars, the environment and puns. Could it be any more perfect?

It brings up an important message though. The importance of local food cannot be understated – it is the simplest way to reduce the carbon footprint of your produce. Food produced locally cuts the biggest waste of carbon, transportation. In the next few posts, I’ll spotlight some areas in Gainesville that make local food a priority, so that you can too.

Be a part of the “Organic Rebellion” today!

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Green is the New Black

Clothing. Some people care deeply about it, some couldn’t care less. Whichever camp you fall into, what you wear is another facet of our footprint on the Earth, and your choices make an impact.

 

The recent rise in popularity of thrifting is a great example of a simple way to lessen your impact, while still remaining stylish and within budget.

The motto “reduce, reuse, recycle” is applicable to all aspects of life, especially consumer goods like clothing. Pre-owned clothing is generally less expensive, and having more than one owner extends the life of a garment. Plus, it’s a great way to shop the recent vintage trend without breaking the bank.

 

Owning less clothing, which college students are forced to do by space constraints, makes you more resourceful in choosing outfits. This gives you more wear per item of clothing, making it more useful. Ducking into your roommate’s closet (with their permission, of course!) to borrow a shirt is a great way to extend the wear of clothing as well.

 

But if the lure of the mall is too much for you, rest assured that there are ways to make your shopping spree a little better for the Earth, even if the same can’t be said for your wallet. Unlike some greenwashing companies we discussed last week, the clothing industry is held to a standard when they use the term “organic”. So if you see that label on your clothing, it’s definitely a good buy for you and the planet. Clothing made from organic materials uses less pesticides and chemicals in creating and processing the fibers, which means less damage on the Earth and less potentially damaging chemicals touching your skin. Look for materials like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo or organic wool.

 

If it sounds like these kinds of clothes can’t be found anywhere except pricey online boutiques, you’ll be pleased to know that mainstream retailers like the Gap, L.L. Bean, American Apparel, Nike, Levi’s and even Walmart have rolled out their own sustainable and organic clothing lines. Making simple, environmentally conscious decisions has never been so easy. Happy shopping!

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Greenwashing – it has nothing to do with your laundry

Scene: You’re at the vending machine, choosing what your chip fix will be today.

 

“Mmm, Doritos. Or Cheetos. Or Lays? So many choices! Ooh, wait, I should get Sunchips. It says they’re healthy and natural, it’s like they’re not even junk food!”

 

Cut. Sound familiar?

 

Advertising gimmicks like these are known as “greenwashing”, a term taken from whitewashing, which is to cover up negative behavior with flimsy, false data and misleading information. Plenty of green-minded consumers (yourself included) have been tricked by this misleading tactic. But no more!

 

It’s common to see a solid wall of these products at your grocery store, plastered with vague terms like “green”, “all natural”, “pure” or “eco-friendly”. But often, these terms mean absolutely nothing. They are completely unregulated and undefined, and can therefore be slapped on just about every product imaginable – which they have been.

 

But you can see past these deceiving advertising techniques, simply by making the conscious choice to read the labels and figure it out for yourself. Don’t believe everything you read, be aware of your choices. These terms do not have any bearing on the health or sustainability of the products, and are at best only partially true. Look for products that back up their claims with facts, or have meaningful and relevant claims. Thinking critically about your choices is the best way to start making better ones, for you and for the planet.

 

So let’s re-try that scene. Action!

 

“So many choices! What about these chips? It says they use solar power in their factories and the bag is partially made of plant products. Plus I can see that they have less artificial ingredients than anything else here. It sounds like a better choice, I’ll go with them.”

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