Being “green” (environmentally) is complicated.
I used to think it was simple, probably like many other people think. Just look for an “organic” label, right? Recycle = good, right? It’s easy to do these things and feel good about ourselves, thinking we’re saving the world.
Instead, making a green decision actually has so many factors to consider. I bought some towels made of bamboo (they’re so soft! :oD). Yes, apparently bamboo can be made into a fabric. Bamboo grows quickly and naturally doesn’t need pesticides to ward off insects. Wow! Buying bamboo clothing and towels must be a green decision! According to (the summary referencing) this article, apparently it’s not so simple. The material is environmentally friendly, but the process of making the fabric is not.
Take some other examples. Think buying organic fruit is the greenest option? Take into account factors such as harvesting techniques and shipping methods, then maybe buying local is more earth-friendly. Another obvious example is the Prius. Hybrid = saving the world? Debatable. What else do we need to take into consideration? If the materials are green, the processes are chemical free, but the goods are made by people being paid pennies a day, is that still considered a green product?
It seems impossible to grasp the whole picture and consider every factor before we buy a product, but it’s no excuse to stop trying. I think as long as we make an effort and keep a healthy dialogue (or debate) going, then we’re heading in the right direction.