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by T.W. Jackson

We live in a trendy day and age that is often influenced by social movements, perception, and ethics. Environmental stewardship is a movement that we read and hear about regularly. The influences and ethics of it are very broad and can be interpreted differently. Due partly to the multitudes of socio-economic classes and lifestyles that exist in the United States, we have varying degrees of environmental consciousness. I like to think of everyone’s commitment to environmental stewardship as “shades of green.” Some people are bright neon green while others are a dark forest green, with many shades in between.

When I consider my own shade (moderate puke green) relative to those around me, I tend to think about people who thoughtfully manage their resources and habits because they genuinely care about reducing environmental impacts and people who do it because they want to be perceived as “eco-friendly.” Some do it for both reasons. Regardless of anyone’s personal motivations, any level of consideration given to reducing dependence on natural resources is important and commendable.

One of the common worries with the environmental trend is that it is targeted at affluent people that can afford higher-priced “eco-friendly” products. Electric/hybrid cars and solar panel-powered homes are flashy examples of environmental stewardship that money can buy but not everyone wants to or can invest in these material symbols of environmental consciousness. I also recognize that not everyone has the luxury of working for organizations that promote environmental stewardship, like I do.

Environmental stewardship does not require a six digit paycheck but instead depends on our lifestyle choices. I focus on other lifestyle decisions to maintain my self-labeled status as a puke green citizen. While I have no plans to buy a Toyota Prius, turn my yard into a compost pile, or flush my dog’s droppings down a toilet to reduce using plastic bags, there is nothing stopping me from using reusable bags at the grocery store, drying my hands on my pants instead of using paper towels, carpooling with friends on weekend trips, recycling my worn-out surfing equipment, or turning myself into a tree after I die.

There are many ways to be green that do not require expensive purchases. I find that thinking about the little things makes a big difference in my life. Kermit the Frog was wrong.

It IS easy being green!

What shade of green are you?