What's the big problem with green living?

So I’m wondering why there is such a stigma hanging around the concept of "green living" mostly in reference to older generations who don’t like the whole "green" movement. In many situations natural materials prove to be more efficient and CHEAPER! For example, energy saving light bulbs, using hay insulation in houses, solar panels.. I just want some intellectual discussion… are most people too set in their ways or is it the cost scare?

7 thoughts on “What's the big problem with green living?”

  1. I suppose it really comes down to a matter of choice. Either you believe in the concept of sustainable practice or you don’t. I think the older generation perhaps didn’t have as much exposure to the concepts that are publicized today; having said that there are quite a few people I know personally that really try and save on green related items, and make the effort to recycle and so forth. The issue of convenience comes to mind in that if the green products and the green way of life was as easy to come by as everything else is then it would be second nature.

  2. I think:
    a) People don’t like being told what to do. I think we have some natural tendency to rebel against orders. I can kind of see where they’re coming from. That’s why I think legislation that bans things and forces decisions is ineffective (except in severe cases like DDT, etc.). I consider myself very Green-minded, but I think a ban on incandescents is stupid. There are situations where only they will do. I think a much more effective method would be to make legislative changes so that CFLs are so competitive to incandescents that they’re the defacto choice in all but a few niche situations. The same goes for reducing car use. Rather than restricting cars, develop alternatives that are as good or better, and people will switch on their own. Anyone who has worked with children knows that it’s much easier to get them to do things if you make them think they’re making the choice. The general public hasn’t changed much since they were children.

    b) People are mistrustful of the intentions. It’s unfortunate that some companies have turned the Green thing into a sham. It’s undercut people’s trust in companies that are really doing the right thing. At the same time, people need to understand that making money off of truly Green products isn’t a bad thing. I don’t think any Green revolution will work if it’s at the expenses of people’s livelihoods. Our best hope for a better world is to make it economically preferable to go Green, because we have to face that fact that while there are some who are doing this because they want a better world, most of the world still runs on money.

    c) People are scared that they’ll lose their current quality of life. This is a valid fear, but it’s also unfounded. It’s my belief that while the WAY we live our lives may change if we go more Green, the QUALITY won’t change. In many cases the quality of our lives will get better. Truth be told, the majority of people would be much happier relaxing on a nice rail car (maybe getting some reading done) all the way to work than being stuck in noisy, smelly, stressful traffic. But, for some reason, people have this mindset that cars are the ultimate thing, and will never even try that rail ride. How you get people to try new things and realize the benefits, I don’t know. If you can figure the answer out I’ll give you a prize.

  3. Most people are trying to live ‘greener’. Most. Of those that don’t there’s a few broad categories.

    First we have people who just don’t care, and think the whole thing is stupid. These aren’t too worried, they just don’t get it.

    The second group are more of a concern. They see green as being of the ‘left’ side of politics (Democratic in the US), and won’t even think about it based purely on that political motivation. In fact, they see the left as trying to control their lives, and that any green regulations (even very good and very important ones) as proof of just that. The fact is that the environmental problems we’re facing require exactly the kind of government actions (carrots and sticks) that those people fear/hate most. It’s very hard to get through to these people.

    The third group is even more of a worry. These are people who have a financial interest in keeping things as they are, as in, UN-green. This is where the professional climate change denial industry sits. But it also might include people who want to open up areas of internationally significant wilderness for logging/mining/whatever to make money, or to keep overfishing, to dump chemicals into rivers, etc etc because they see that as the most profitable way to do things.

    We need to help those who WANT to be greener, encourage the first and second groups of the benefits of being greener (and perhaps leave the more stubborn of those behind to work it out for themselves), and fight as hard as we can to beat (and also educate that green can be profitable as well) the third group.

    Hope that helps.

  4. I’m a brown and I get the same reaction. I always use old style light bulbs because they are 10 times cheaper and do not contain mercury. I ask for triple bags (only plastic) when I shop. I paint my Hummer brown. I also only buy products tested on dumb animals. My lifestyle seems to turn off off some arrogant neighbors but I do not care. While they are busy wasting their dull lives sorting their trash I am cruising around the US in my 5 mpg RV.

  5. My biggest objection with "green living" is the people who insist that you live that way. I have been conserving resources before most of them were born. I do not appreciate it when someone driving an SUV tells me I should walk to work. Peta people likely smack their dogs and Sierra Club members litter more than most other people (I have issued citations to them for this in the Wilderness). The older generation does not buy iPods until everyone else has them. We do not intend to try new things until we are sure they are better than the things we have used for the last 50 years.
    Also, I have CFL’s in nearly all my lights except those I read by because my eyes are as old as I am, and I drive fewer miles each year than anyone else I know.

  6. Living "green" in itself isn’t a problem, but when you push through legislation that forces people to make unsensible changes ? When you have people out there lying about supposed "green" initiatives and products ? Or putting the whole agenda / movement ahead of people to the point that you raise their cost of living and mess up their personal finances ?
    For instance, the CFL might save energy, but congress attached a rider on the energy bill that makes it mandatory to use as of 2012. These bulbs don’t even work in dimmers and any medical unit will shrug at you if you ask them how to treat mercury vapor inhalation.
    How about that Prius…..nice car, it might even be popular, but the truth is that its "life time" pollution created is about the same as a regular car. So its more of a show off vehicle giving yuppies and those that think they are sophisticated the right to brag…..when in truth they are doing little if anything for the enviroment.
    You can save energy, which isn’t a bad idea…but ask yourself why is it being stressed so much. The fact is, if they can get people to reduce the lifestyle they live, they can resort to unproven renewable energy which just can’t compete with the power output of gas and oil.
    How much wind power has contributed to the nation ? 1% at best ? Yet its been researched and had tons of money poured down that hole for decades. And in the end there are still medical issues regarding the transmission lines, the need for real estate to build on and lets face it, wind farms look like hell. Why else does the North East have opposition like from Ted Kennedy and other prominent people so opposed to it. They do’nt want to see them on the landscape.
    So go green if you want, but you might want to look to the UK, who has country wide pretty much gone "green" and now they are angry , because after years of swallowing the "go green" strategy, they haven’t seen any changes, there have been nothing but increased cost of living and from their perspective, a waste in tax money, not to mention the over involvement of a socialist government to force change and interfere with people’s lives.

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