- Morning coffee - This is a basic decision that most of us make every day. Its a small thing but it can have environmental implications nonetheless. I rarely get coffee to go in disposal cups which are very resource and waste intensive so this decision is - green! But at my office I have a one cup at a time coffee maker that I use, which may save water but also has more packaging and waste - not green.
- Cars - Neither my wife or I drive a hybrid or an electric. But our lifestyle doesn't require us to drive a great deal and we don't drive gas guzzlers. My guess is that we have a smaller transportation carbon footprint than most Americans, but probably more than most Europeans. not green.
- House - I live in a spec house that was built in 2004, so it isn't the most energy efficient home around. I have replaced all of my incandescent bulbs with CFLs - I think that I have tried every brand and variation of CFL available! I have also installed low flow fixtures in the bathrooms and kitchen, painted with zero voc paint and use green cleaners, but it is still far from what I would consider a green house. We plan to build in the future, at which point I intend it to be very green, but we aren't there yet - not green.
- Business - Sustainability is a core tenant of my business model. I try to operate my business both internally and externally as sustainably as I can. I have a green procurement policy - I purchase 100% recycled office products whenever they are available, I limit my printing, I buy energy star electronics etc. I also try to design as sustainably as I can within the projects constraints and goals. As a civil engineer some of my projects contribute to the environmental damage resulting from development, but I do my best to reduce that impact. All in all I think that I can reasonably call my business - Green!
- Personal habits - This is one area that we have the most control over in terms of sustainability, and the little things that you do (or don't do) can have an impact. I do my best to recycle everything that I can, turn off the lights when I leave the room, buy environmentally preferable products, unplug electronics, etc. But I do have some less than green habits though - I prefer soda from a can, I eat meat with most meals and I drink a lot of sports drinks from small plastic bottles. All in all though, I would consider my personal habits - Green!
- Children - I have three children so some people would automatically say that's not sustainable because it's more than the replacement birth rate (birth rate to replace yourself), but I think that might be a little extreme. I try to teach my children to be environmentally responsible in their actions and decisions and I am amazed how much my 6yr old already does it (my other two are younger so the jury's still out). On the other hand, they have a lot of "things" which I realize is wasteful and resource intensive. Hopefully, they will learn to be responsible stewards of our planet, but only time will tell - draw.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Am I a green hypocrite?
Am I a green hypocrite? I might be... This is something that I struggle with quite regularly. I consider my self an environmentally responsible individual and sustainability is a core tenant of the business that I founded. With just about every decision that I make, or at least the major ones, I try to consider the environmental consequences of that decision and action. However, I'd be lying if I said that I always made the environmental choice. Most of the time there is probably a good reason for that, but sometimes its really just a matter of preference. Does that make me a green hypocrite? I hope not, but I will leave that for someone else to decide. Here are some of my green and not so green decisions - am I a green hypocrite?