Sustainability: A Deeper Shade of Green
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What does it mean for a product to be green or sustainable? There are many aspects to when considering whether a product or company provides green or sustainable practices.
“Green” is the new buzzword in the world. Travel anywhere in the world these days and mention the word “green,” and you are most likely to be understood as an advocate for saving the environment. Bravo!
Companies spend millions of dollars for this kind of exposure. Every culture understands its implications. But peel away the “green” layer and what does it really mean? What decisions are you really making? If there is a new generational word for “green,” then it has to be “sustainability.” Let’s take a look at what makes a product truly green or sustainable.
First, let’s define sustainability. Sustainability is often misunderstood to mean survivability. This is not an accurate description. Sustainability refers to the ability of any resource to endure without having a negative impact. On the greener side of the word, it is the selection and processing of natural resources in such a way as to nurture our planet’s environment rather than destroy it.
The much deeper solution also considers the enduring nurture of people, intentions, ideas, and services, as well. What makes a product green is not the purpose of the product, but rather the life cycle of the product. What is the impact of the product from its birth as an idea to the end of its life? Let’s look at the many shades of green, which is colored by sustainable practices through the life cycle.
Let’s use garage doors as an example. The idea of a garage door lies in the protection of your vehicle. Reducing the need to create more vehicles is a good idea. Consider the company that manufactures garage doors. Do they support sustainable practices in their daily business operations? What are the materials made of? Where do the materials come from? How much carbon and waste is generated getting them to the company? How much energy, water, and manpower are spent during the manufacturing? What about getting the product to you?
Now consider the durability, protection, maintenance, and longevity. If you need to repair a garage door, consider the energy, cost, and resources spent here, too. Far into the future, will your garage door still be in use, recycled, reutilized, or sitting in a landfill? Many of us don’t think about all of these questions when we purchase a product. And we shouldn’t have to. These are conscious awareness issues that companies today need to address in their businesses.
Green is also a consumer state of mind. Because we need to bring conscious awareness about sustainability in our homes, too! When you are making the decision to live a green lifestyle, consider the shade of green you commit to. Conscious awareness is not a difficult thing. It is simply a change in perspective that considers the impact beyond you.
Of course, we recycle, we buy green products, we conserve energy, and we choose alternative solutions. The real healing for our planet will arrive through awareness decisions, how they affect us, our lives, our communities, and our planet.
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