Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Is brown the new green?

Let's face it, everybody is going green. If it's not a $92 silk-and-organic-cotton sweater set for your baby, it's a $42,000 Lexus hybrid SUV or a multimillion dollar green mansion. Now that green is hip, all you need to do is spend more money and buy more stuff, and you too can join the green revolution. After you drive your hybrid SUV to the mall to buy organic cashmere sweaters and natural seagrass rugs and organic latex and wool mattresses, you can come home with a clear conscience. You have done your part to make the world a greener place. Of course, don't forget to recycle your plastic water bottle on your way home; it's important to make sacrifices for Mother Earth.

Thankfully, not everyone has fallen into the trap of buying their way into a greener lifestyle. Rebekah's take on going green is an old-fashioned, but refreshing, approach to green living.

And Hen and Harvest had a great point--perhaps we need to abandon green altogether. Let's make brown the new green!

So, what are your suggestions for living green (or rather, brown)?


  1. The article was fantastic! I love the idea of going "brown". I loved the whole thing, especially about how buying too much crap is how we got here in the first place.

    Birth books are a guilty pleasure of mine, also (of course!). In fact...books in general are something I could spend a lot of money on.

  2. id have to add that its important to buy food thats produced localy and avoid the big stores for food shopping. One thing i noticed when we went to america was the uniformity of the fruit and veg, so much that my kids kept asking if it was real! so, take a step back from insisting that food looks 'perfect'; it will stop lots of waste. Check out this great site to get an education on american food habits, its a bit shocking.

  3. oh and give up meat!!!!

  4. I love hen and harvest's thoughts. But I have to say, when I see the initials BSBM, I think either Bull $%*!, Bowel Moment. But hey, both are crap and both are, you guessed it! Brown!

  5. I think the BSMS connotation was purposeful. Makes me laugh.

    Kel, I think that meat can be produced responsibly, so it's no so much giving up meat per se, but giving up industrially produced meat. We have several local farmers (mostly organic, grass-fed, free-range, etc) around here who do a variety of small-scale livestock, including beef, lamb, chicken, and pork. Of course, I have no quarrel with those who do choose not to eat meat.

    It's really hard to buy local around here, besides the limited meat products from local farmers. We have a small farmer's market that comes once a week, so during the summer growing season you can get a small selection of fresh produce. But other than that, you're often stuck with the big box food stores.

    Of course growing your own food is a great way to eat local. There's a really sunny, but very gravely, patch in our back yard that I hope to turn into raised bed gardens. There's far too much gravel to be able to till or remove, so I'll have to invest some money upfront to make the raised beds (for timbers and dirt/compost). I don't know how else to get around the gravel problem short of bringing dirt in on top.

  6. Blech. Green, shmeen. We're literally scraping the bottom of the (oil) barrel as we speak. No one will be worried about the latest yuppie trend by the time the nations of this planet are finished fighting our wars for the world's remaining specks of oil and gas. We don't hear it from the presidential candidates, but the harsh reality is we'll never be able to produce enough renewable energy to support all this nonsense. By then we'll all be living without these frivolous goodies and a cushy suburban lifestyle, post-global economy. Are you guys ready? I'm most definitely not. But it does make me very grumpy to be reminded of this eventuality.

  7. Rixa,

    can you post the link to the baby shoes that you were sewing a while back? I have tried to guess where in your archives that posting is!


  8. I must say that a large factor behind our recent turn towards "green" has been cost. One of the reasons I breastfeed is because it's free. I cloth diaper because I'm tired of spending money for disposables. Even the cheap ones add up fast. I cook from scratch because it's cheaper and it tastes better. As an added perk, there's less packaging. As soon as we are back in a house, I'll be starting up my garden again because it kills me to buy at the store what I can grow in my yard. I LOVE hand-me-downs, in part because they are so cheap. I've bought 2 pieces of clothing for Rachel. TWO! And yet, she's dolled up almost every day because of hand-me-downs from my sisters and other people. Bring it on!

    Honestly, I don't see the point behind most of the "green" frenzy going on. Just simplifying your lifestyle makes it so you consume less. Hey, maybe everyone should try that!

    Good post. Good links.

  9. I've been trying on the green/brown front. I even walked to the laundromat today with a baby on my front in the wrap and the laundry on my back. And I get to walk to the grocery store later!

    Hooray for buying local, though! We just got some local peaches to can!

  10. Erin,
    If you search "leather" on this blog, the first 2 posts will have pictures of shoes I made.

  11. hI Rixa, yes i agree with you about responsible and humane meat production but i think i was mainly referring to the fact that meat production has a huge impact on the earth. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says that the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and that it affects water quality and biodiversity. So if we all just reduced meat consumption even by one meal a week....

  12. Oh, I'm so there. On one hand I'm glad that more people are getting into environmental awareness. On the other hand, I'm pissed that they're only doing it to be trendy, and that corporations are totally cashing in on that. Green has jumped the shark!

    I love the idea of brown being the new green. Instead of a cutesy little leaf slapped onto some random product to make people want to buy it so they can be cool, we can have a logo featuring a steaming pile of turds. ;)

  13. Jill, LOL, I'm laughing my butt off over here!

    we can have a logo featuring a steaming pile of turds. ;)

  14. I too enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing it.

    I think the main thing that I do that helps us live green, er... 'brown,' is to practice delayed gratification.

    I read an article last month on yahoo where this couple ripped up their credit cards and only used cash instead of credit/debit cards. They saved $1800 in one month.

    Why'd they save so much? They simply bought less because they could only spend what they had on hand. Like the other commenter said, alot of our living 'brown' has to do with not being able to afford buying new.

    So for people who can afford it, budgeting and alotting themselves less spending could help.

    (Imagine Americans putting our money into savings.)

    And I agree with the meat suggestion. We eat vegetarian (rice and bean burritos) several nights a week and so not only is it good for the enviro, it's good for us.

    So going 'brown' can apply to eating ethnic, as in eating how the brown skinned folks eat.

    Ha, Ha. That's my shot at humor!

  15. I missed this post somehow (first day of school???)
    But yeah you go, love the Sassy Rixa, totally agree on all of it!

    I am trying not to get too involved in the strong desire to prattle on about how "green" I was a few years back, because some of those things I am not currently doing and I feel horrible about it. At least now I wouldnt get such wild stares if I were vegan, babywearing, hanging my (homemade!) diapers out in the (winter!) sun, washing my porch with rainwater collected, growing herbs and flowers from food seeds.
    : (
    I wanna go back to all that! At least my hubbie rides his bike to work (6 miles one way!)


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