What does "green" actually mean?


To be completely green — and I mean environmentally friendly, not the hue between yellow and blue :) — you'd have to be dead. No actually never born. Not even a twinkle in your parent's eyes.

My point is, you can never be green, you can only be more green or less green.

And being more green is basically being more efficient with what you have and what you use.

Efficiency applies to energy consumption or environmental impact every bit as much as time and money.

Everything you do (and if you do nothing, everything you don't do) has a cost in time, money and environmental impact. Everything.

If you walk over there, you'll use, oh I dont know, 1 gram of energy from the steak you had at lunch, or an arm of a jelly baby, or whatever. So if you walked over there for no reason 100% of that is wasted.

On a slight tangent

What if you were to go jogging (healthy, good, green?), and you ran from your house in a big circle and back again, would that be anything but a waste?

On one level, yes completely. After all what is the point in feeding your face the extra amount of food that it takes to run around the block 5 days a week? And anyway what's the point in wasting that hour each day away from something you'd rather be doing?

But on another, what if jogging makes you mentally better off? If taking that time to clear your head means that your productivity or happiness skyrockets for the hour/6 hours/3 days/… following?

And there again, what if you were jogging to collect a newspaper each day? Would introducing a purpose to the action make it any better? What about if jogging replaced taking the car for that paper?

Back towards the path

Humans are not robots. Life's purpose isn't to minimise our environmental impact. The very fact of being alive has and already has had consequences on the things around us. It's our responsibility to both make the most of what we have, and question our desire for what we don't have.

So where do entertainment, sport and recreation fit into all of this? Assuming going to that football match, renting that film, going out for that meal… positively effect happiness; is that happiness worth say 5 killograms of carbon? How about 500kg? Where is the line between enjoying life and living to excess?

I don't know the answers to these questions, and anyhow I'd guess that they'd be different for everyone, but I think I've come to a conclusion: only do things that; make you money, save you time, or make you happy.

Comments? Tweet me @mealybar, smoke signals, or homing pigeon, or something :)