Living in a “GREEN” world

This whole notion of being “green” seems to be sweeping through every product line in the nation.  Seeing a “green” product at any store is pretty common but, just a few years ago you had to search for “green” products.  The fact that so many organizations are jumping onto the “green” bandwagon is both promising and troubling.

I like to see that companies are trying to improve things like, operating efficiencies of their products, reduce their company’s overall energy consumption, reduce materials used while packaging, among many other things.  In addition to all of the positive environmental impacts, this is good and beneficial to everyone because, it costs the end user less to operate and it can cost less for the manufacture to produce/ship.  Why suddenly are we seeing so many “green” products, well there are several reasons for this but the main reason is that consumers are demanding them.  Energy costs have risen and because of this, consumers want devices that use less energy. For the very same reason companies are trying to reduce their energy consumptions.

The downside to seeing so many “green” products is being able to sort out the beneficial and non-beneficial products.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to find products that actually have a positive affect both environmentally and in reducing energy.  It seems the term “green” is being so over used that marketing departments are throwing the “green” label on anything they possibly can, in hopes of appealing to consumers.  Whether the product is actually all that “green” or not is besides the question.  Since “green” is the new favorite phrase of marketers, it is very important to be conscious of these tactics and to do some research for yourself. Don’t  buy something just because it says that is “green.”  Next time when you see a “green” product ask yourself some of the following questions:

What makes this product green?

How does this product compare to other products?

Does this green labeling have any actual positive affect on the environment or in reducing energy?

The United States Government is also getting on the “green” bandwagon.  Some of the things the government is doing are good and some of the things it is doing aren’t so good.  For example, the United States Government is planning on improving federal and state building efficiencies.  This is a good thing and it will not only save the government (and taxpayers) money but it will also use less energy.  Also, in order to reduce energy and environmental impact the government passed a bill that will end up phasing out incandescent light bulbs.  This bill requires that light bulbs be 70% more efficient by 2020.  As energy costs have gone up, people have been buying energy efficient products like compact fluorescent light bulbs (instead of incandescent light bulbs) without the government dictating anything.  We are seeing similar behavior with the Cap and Trade bill.  The Cap and Trade bill is going to try and force you to live a “greener” life by raising the costs of energy.  The hope is that doing this will reduce energy usage and benefit the environment.  Again, we are seeing an actual “green” change occur in all aspects of society already but, these changes are occurring because the market is adapting to higher energy prices.

So, Am I against going “green?”  No.  Am I against forcing people to go “green?” Yes.

I am fully in favor of trying to minimize the amount of natural resources we use and to use the resources we do use efficiently.  Also, I am in favor of using products that are more efficient and in favor of replacing incandescent light bulbs with more efficient bulbs.  I am not however, in favor of having someone else dictate to me what I have to do.  If someone does not want to stop using incandescent bulbs then they should not be forced to.  Instead of having big brother breath down our necks let the people and the market make the decisions.  That is how things are supposed to work, after all aren’t we suppose to have freedom and be a capitalist society?

Tell me your thoughts; I would be very interested to discuss some of these topics further.

6 thoughts on “Living in a “GREEN” world

  1. Donnie

    “let the people and the market make the decisions.”

    I think the incandescent vs. CFL argument clearly shows that people and the market can frequently make the wrong decision.

    From a people perspective, if people could do a little simple math, they would have realized long ago that CFL’s are less expensive over the long run. Yet, they are still buying incandescent bulbs. Why? The math clearly shows that they would save money, and help the environment. It’s a win/win, but still people don’t choose it.

    And from a market perspective, since the people are still buying incandescent bulbs, the market will produce them.

    Reply
    1. Zach Hudson Post author

      Donnie, I completely agree with your point about why/how most people are not choosing CFL bulbs and I also agree with your point about the market. Instead of being mandated to switch, as “CFL Awareness” increases, which is has, CFL sales will increase. In my mind, “CFL Awareness” would also be included in my “let the people and the market make the decisions.” argument.

      The other thing that we have now are CLF bulbs that work just plain better than they used to. From what I have read and from conversation with people, a big downfall in most peoples minds is they don’t like how CFLs perform. This is mostly a misconception, in my opinion, but some people have experienced early CFL bulbs and wrote them off because they didn’t like how the performed. The other major thing we are seeing is a decrease in CFL prices, a must if they are going to gain widespread adoption. I think they are at a price point now where people won’t go into panic when looking at their cost.

      I think we would see a change to CFL bulbs (and maybe LEDs later) without government intervention but, I also think that we can both agree that the change might be a slower process without the government intervention.

      So do you also think the term “green” is starting to get over used?

      Reply
  2. severed2009

    Zach, you do not want to be dictated to. This is perfectly reasonable. But do you mind being nudged or nagged?
    Take cigarettes. Making them illegal would be dictating to people, and would not work. But we nudge people away from ciggies by taxing them more than normal products. And we nag them to stop — even the cigarette packages nag the smokers.
    Smoking is now banned in most places. I used to smoke. Now, after I have been around smokers, my clothes smell of it. Back when I smoked, everything reeked and I didnt notice it. Now that I have stopped, I do notice it and it is disgusting. The antismoking laws dictate to smokers. But before these laws, someone else could do something that made my clothes stink and I had no recourse except to stay out of public or private places where smoking was allowed.

    The market is often manipulated so that only certain choices are in fact available, or so that information you need to make your choice is not easy to find out or is presented so as to be misleading. Now that green is in, everything is green or is made to appear green in order to boost sales.

    Reply
  3. Emily

    Zach, you do not want to be dictated to. This is perfectly reasonable. But do you mind being nudged or nagged?
    Take cigarettes. Making them illegal would be dictating to people, and would not work. But we nudge people away from ciggies by taxing them more than normal products. And we nag them to stop — even the cigarette packages nag the smokers.
    Smoking is now banned in most places. I used to smoke. Now, after I have been around smokers, my clothes smell of it. Back when I smoked, everything reeked and I didnt notice it. Now that I have stopped, I do notice it and it is disgusting. The antismoking laws dictate to smokers. But before these laws, someone else could do something that made my clothes stink and I had no recourse except to stay out of public or private places where smoking was allowed.

    The market is often manipulated so that only certain choices are in fact available, or so that information you need to make your choice is not easy to find out or is presented so as to be misleading. Now that green is in, everything is green or is made to appear green in order to boost sales.

    Reply
  4. Zach Hudson Post author

    I too think that cigarettes are gross but I also believe that individuals should have the right to smoke if they want to. People are smart enough to make their own choices, even if these choices are not what others think are smart.

    As far as smoking laws that make smoking in public places illegal, I feel that those are also out of line. Do I appreciate not being surrounded by smoke, yes, but does the government have the right to tell a business owner that they can’t allow smoking. I mean, think about this. This is really no different than the government telling you that you can no longer buy an SUV or that you have to install ONLY Energy Star electronic devices in your home.

    I think that individuals have the abilities to make informed decisions and that people will make good and bad choices but that does not mean others should make are choices for us.

    Reply

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