It’s not easy being green
“It’s not that easy bein’ green/ Having to spend each day the color of the leaves/ When I think it could be nicer bein’ red or yellow or gold/ Or something much more colorful like that”
Kermit the frog on Sesame Street, 1970 (words by Joe Raposo)
If you are reading this, then you probably like all things ‘green’. But are you green? It is not easy to define green, let alone “bein’ it” as Kermit sang. Green has historically been used to describe money in a negative way, inexperienced people and even the devil. Not a particularly happy team to be associated with, especially being a small melancholic frog.
However, green is also the color of the forests that give us life-bringing oxygen and has therefore been used as inspiration for green politics and green economy.
You are a positive person and know that the past generations have made quite a mess of our planet. Inequality and pollution are just a few examples of things gone horribly wrong on a global scale. You choose to be green instead. Or do you?
‘Green Economy: Does it include you?’
This is the 2012 theme for the UNEP World Environment Day.
The earth used to be green and now the ‘Green’ movement now has gone global as well, returning the favor.
The leading green principles according to the Global Greens Charter are:
• Ecological wisdom
• Social justice
• Participatory democracy
• Respect for diversity
Based on this, the green movement cannot exist without you or me. Thinking globally, acting locally is a key part of being Green. You cannot be green without actively being involved. Cutting down on waste and inefficiency won’t be enough, I am afraid. We will need to act to make the entire economy green and turn this ship around.
So what should you do to get involved and included in the Green economy?
“The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.(…) A green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.” (UNEP)
If you are an entrepreneur, start a green business. Show that Green is good for the economy: it benefits us all and it can create a sustainable income for you and many others.
If you don’t have the chance to start a green business, then support ones who do. Buy green and sustainable products and eat food that is made in a way that does not harm the environment (nor you!).
The main point is to Vote Green. Not just on the ballot to make sure that public parks stay public and green, though that is important. Also use the strong voting power of capitalist economies: the ‘green’ in your pocket.
If nobody buys fruits with pesticides, they won’t be grown. You will save more on medical bills than you spend extra on the farmers market, while helping out small companies instead of large investor-owned mega ones.
If everybody wants solar-panels instead of coal-powered energy, then they will be produced more cheaply, lowering your own energy bill, while saving the planet. Buy a solar-powered lamp and donate one to a family in the developing world, helping you both as well as our planet in more ways than one.
Green voting is good for you, it makes you green. You are a shareholder of our planet, so the green economy includes you by definition. Now is the time to become green and to get return on your investment.
This green essay was written for the World Environment Day (WED) blogging competition by Treehugger and the UNEP. Harry Kikstra is founder of FlexiWay Solar, replacing kerosene lamps with solar-powered LED lights. Harry votes Green all the time and has cycled from Alaska – Patagonia.
About World Environment Day 2012
2012 is the 40th anniversary for World Environment Day, since the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1972. Celebrating World Environment Day is about the inspirational power of individual action that, collectively, is multiplied into an exponential force that can effect positive change.
PS: and for those as melancholic as Kermit, check this out:
- 1 Alleviate poverty Reduce poverty by saving 25% of household costs!
- 2 Health benefits removing toxic and dangerous kerosene from households
- 3 Prevent fire hazards Kerosene lamps are leading cause of house fires
- 4 Enabling education Students can study better & longer, more money for books
- 5 Save our planet Stop global warming, deforestation and pollution
- 6 Increase income Light at night can create additional income streams
- 7 Empowering women LED lights create a brighter future for women and girls
- 8 Empower communities Light generates joint income, offers new possibilities
- 9 Increase safety bringing light in houses and community
- 10 Solar education Teach students and entrepreneurs about solar