Paint It Green

Green up is the new Grow up. Let us see how to do so.

The United Nations Environmental Program is promoting its new GreenUp campaign which should help us to paint our lives green on a small, medium and large scale.

Generally, the campaign has done a good job in assembling areas where people can easily change to a more sustainable way of doing things. It goes from construction which uses less resources to eco-tourism and recycling. In short: nothing new but still important topics to talk about.

WIth the upcoming Rio +20 Summit, green economy is much talked about. The campaign tries to break it down for the simple user. What I like about the take the UN has on green economy is the following: “Building a Green Economy is not about throwing out the old system and starting from scratch, it’s about making choices according to the full cost – not just the financial cost – of any and all activities.” And it continues: “In a Green Economy, the full cost of cutting down a forest includes damage to habitats and biodiversity, reduction in carbon-storing tree cover, loss of the social and cultural value of the forest, as well as the inability of future generations to reap these and other benefits from the forest. Under the Green Economy model, then, it makes economic sense to manage the forest sustainably rather than cut it down all at once so as to maintain these non-financial benefits.”

Back to GreenUp, let’s have a look at the 10 ways to green up your life:

Forestry: The UN advices us to use electronic files rather than print to reduce deforestation and to “support certified sustainable forest products”. More here.

Fishery: It’s very simple: buy “seafood products that have been harvested sustainably”. Or better (that’s not what the UN says): don’t eat fish or seafood. More here.

Transport: Give up your car for carpooling and public transport and “walking or riding a bike for short trips is good for your health – and the environment’s, too!” More here.

Agriculture: The UN says “it’s time to support sustainable agriculture to ensure our ability to feed EVERYONE.” Further, grow your own, eat seasonal and organic. More here.

Manufacturing: “Be a wise consumer – support businesses that have sustainability plans, use ecolabels, and invest in renewable energy.” The UN also warns us of greenwashing! More here.

Energy: First and foremost: be more energy efficient, and with what is left “support the development of clean, renewable energy by choosing businesses and products that invest in them – or by investing in them yourself!” More here.

Construction: There are many ways to reduce the use of resources of your house. “A home or business energy audit can reduce your building’s climate footprint and lead to significant savings in energy costs.” More here.

Tourism: The same goes for tourism as for food: local, home-made and low on energy is best. “Know before you go: What hotels and travel agencies support ecotourism? How can I limit my impact on sensitive habitats?” More here.

Water: We all know how to reduce the use of water. But since we don’t do it, here’s a reminder: “Turn off the tap when you’re not using it, wait until you have a full load to run your laundry or dishwasher, limit shower time, and don’t water your lawn right after a rain.” More here.

Waste: Recycle recycle recyle is what the UN suggests. “Electronics in particular are only recycled at a rate of 15% globally.” I would add: REDUCE! More here.

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4 thoughts on “Paint It Green

  1. Tasty! The best breakfast that I have had all week :). I think we have to stop offering Green alternatives as alternatives and start pushing them as more than choices. People need to see that living sustainably isn’t the trendy alternative (although so many people are clinging tenaciously to the fashion pages that it might not be a bad idea to continue pushing it as popular…sigh…) but rather the right way to live and the only real choice. I think that people need to see that they are responsible for their ethical (or none) choices and that their responses right now are most probably the most important responses, in the name of our continued lifestyles, in the whole of humanity. That might sound melodramatic, but it’s true. We are living on the brink of massive changes and best we suck it up now and get stuck in to trying to save what we still have before we don’t have a choice any more and it is foisted on us along with the accompanying hardship and tears.

    • Narf said: “I think we have to stop offering Green alternatives as alternatives and start pushing them as more than choices.”

      And here endeth the lesson.

      • I think it would be nice to just say “let’s stop making green cool…” but I feel somehow that so far it’s the only way of reaching the masses. Especially here in Thailand I realize that you have to make baby-steps with convincing people of giving up their newly won consumerism … but this stays one of the conflicts I have with myself 😀

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