Is it better to rinse plastic bags and re-use them, or does it really make sense to waste that water? Are cfl's good now, or have we decided they are bad? Is it okay to turn my A/C down a few degrees in the heat of the summer if my middle-age hot flashes are making me downright miserable?
This year, I was inundated with emails about "new" green products and techniques that PR reps were clammering to draw a little attention to. For someone trying to make the right environmentally friendly decisions, the options can be overwhelming.
A study conducted in 2008 indicated that having too many choices can actually result in people not making any decision at all:
Having choices is typically thought of as a good thing. Maybe not, say researchers who found we are more fatigued and less productive when faced with a plethora of choices.
Researchers from several universities have determined that even though humans’ ability to weigh choices is remarkably advantageous, it can also come with some serious liabilities.
People faced with numerous choices, whether good or bad, find it difficult to stay focused enough to complete projects, handle daily tasks or even take their medicine.
So in order to help ease the burden of those who think that "being green" is too stressful, here are a few tips from a boomer who's been there:
- Protecting the Planet is not a competition. Don't make it one: It's a little frustrating to me that there are so MANY organizations out there (each with their own website) that are trying to be the SINGLE number one source of info for protecting the planet. Wow! What power we would have if we all worked together instead of trying to compete! Let's try to look at it that way.
- It's the Ecology, stupid. Not the economy: Keep a wary eye on the websites that claim to be trying to protect the planet when they are obviously just trying to sell a product.
- Good green deeds deserve recognition: There are many people and organizations that devote countless hours of their lives trying to help others make the right decisions for the planet. If you can afford to make a donation to their cause or volunteer time for any of their projects, do it. Many of these organizations, including some great eco-friendly bloggers, allow you to make donations through their websites. Keep in mind that some of the smaller groups (and individuals) can really use your support more than the larger ones. Personally, I don't make a donation to groups that spend more money each year TRYING to get me to donate (by sending free wrapping paper, calendars and greeting cards) than I can afford to even give. If you can't afford to donate time or money, a few kind words sent in an email message in support of what they are doing can go a long way in keeping eco-activists energized. Even something as simple as liking their Facebook page and commenting every now and then or subscribing to their blog helps to show that you care.
- We are all still in the learning stages when it comes to protecting the planet. Teach each other: I'm certainly not an expert on anything. Are you? If you are, then great. Share that knowledge with others. Instead of condemning an incorrect opinion or action, offer to share your knowledge or expertise. Environmental groups AND green bloggers are always looking for contributions from experts.
- You can't do everything, but you can do something: The Earth Day network is running a campaign called A Billion Acts of Green in which they ask readers to post what action they Pledge to commit to for a greener planet. Pick one or add your own. You DON'T have to try to do all One Billion of them. Here's mine:
By creating an eco-friendly landscape, I pledge to: eliminate chemicals, conserve water, create compost,
choose plants compatible with my site conditions, cut down on stormwater runoff and garden for wildlife.
Create an Eco-Friendly Garden