Going Green: What does it mean?
Television news, newspapers, magazines, and online, there’s talk about “Going Green.” But what exactly does going green mean? Is it the wave of the future, or just another fad? Will it really save our planet? These questions are the focus of this paper. The term, “Going Green”, is used to describe a lifestyle associated with environmental awareness. It means we, as a society, do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint. “Reduce – Reuse - Recycle.” By recycling, we can reduce our contribution to the landfills. By using the same products over and over, we can conserve the energy it takes to make new ones. Some small individual examples of the green movement include purchasing a water bottle and filtering our own tap water. With this simple choice, we can reduce the need for plastic water bottles. By using a tote bag for groceries, we save the need for making more plastic bags. By performing simple things - like turning off lights that aren’t being used, not running water while brushing our teeth, and purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles - we conserve a great deal of energy. Going Green is all about environmental changes. Changes we’ve made to the planet that require us to become more enviromentally aware, and changes we make to help our planet replensish some of what it’s lost because of our over indulgence. But what does Going Green mean to the average person? I asked a few of my family members what it meant to them. I asked my younger son, Shaun; my future daughter-in-law, Samantha: my husband, Jeff; and my Aunt Lor. Shaun is a garbage collector. Or as he and his co-workers prefer to be called, Garbologists. “It means I get to take some of the brand new crap people throw away because it doesn’t go with their décor to decorate my own home. I’m recycling!” Jeff says, “It SHOULD mean you don’t take 30 minute showers, but I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.” He also says it should mean that his voice be heard at work to reduce the cost and resources of the jobs he does for the University. Not only would it save money, it could potentially save jobs. Jeff is a roofer for UNL.
To Samantha, Going Green means that “Shaun should quit smoking as he’s polluting the air I breathe. And it should also mean he eats what he kills when he goes hunting, but neither of us like venison. So I guess I should use less hairspray to save the ozone layer.”
Aunt Lor is 74 years old, and has been a widow for the past 14 years. My Uncle Ray was the cook in the family, so Aunt Lor says, “Going Green means I eat more Cheerios. I don’t cook, so I go out for fast food too often. I’m sure the styro-foam isn’t helpful to the environment, and Cheerios are a relatively healthy food source.”
What is the future of the Green Movement? Solar technology is an option. Using the sun to provide all the comforts we’re currently using coal and oil for is an alternative on the rise. There are many ways to harness the power of the sun, but making any new energy source cost efficient is an issue the general public is concerned with. Many of us are willing to do what we can to conserve energy. Many wish they could afford to do more, but putting solar panels on the roof isn’t feasible for the majority. Most personal systems begin at a cost of around $20,000 (thesolarguide.com) and that’s not small change. Although there are many incentives for installing solar panels, most come in the form of year end tax incentives. This doesn’t help with the initial cost. In an article on MSNBC, author Alan Boyle asks the question, “Can fuel cells power the future?” The article goes on to discuss different concepts in solar power. At an American Chemical Society meeting recently, one idea combines solar power with fuel cell generation. During daylight hours, the solar panels would supply electricity, as...