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Cut to the Chase: Being ‘green’ not as hard as Kermit thinks

By Rebecca French Smith

To quote a famous amphibian, “It ain’t easy being green.” But being “green” in today’s society should be easier than ever with all the products and services here to help us. Oh, but that pesky human factor creeps in. It’s called laziness, and I am no exception. It takes some forethought to be green.
I recently saw a Facebook post (one I’ve seen before, so it has made the rounds) in which an elderly woman is checking out at the grocery store. The clerk makes a comment about the woman not having eco-friendly reusable grocery bags, and goes on to say, her generation didn’t care enough to take care of the environment.
The woman apologizes and says she didn’t have the “green” thing back in her day. Back in her day, she didn’t have eco-friendly and green convenience products, but she returned milk and soda bottles to the store to be sanitized and reused by the bottler. She walked to the store a couple of blocks away instead of driving. She washed the baby diapers because she didn’t have disposable diapers. She lists several scenarios that were a part of everyday life for her that, oh, by the way, were green and eco-friendly. No forethought required.
Whether or not the story is true, there is truth in its message. It made me think. What do we do every day that could impact the earth in a positive way? What little things can we do in addition to recycling plastic and paper when we can?
We recycle paper at our office. Estil Fretwell, the director of public affairs at Missouri Farm Bureau, recently had an epiphany. He went to the filing cabinet where we keep old file folders for reuse, to reuse one yet again, when he realized that he had never grabbed a new folder in his 26 years of employment at Farm Bureau. I questioned him on that. Surely, in all that time, he has grabbed a new one at least once. However, he does reuse file folders often; it’s a habit – a good one – a green one.
In 2013, farmers’ markets will be a hot trend in being green. It is one of many ways to go green. These markets are great places for fresh produce, some of which is local. Unfortunately, not all residents in Missouri have access them. Perhaps you grow your own vegetables; maybe you grow food to be sold at market and beyond. What do you do that’s green? Do you compost? Do you use no-till planting or terracing practices for soil and water conservation like many farmers in the state? Do you soil test your garden plot to make sure you don’t over-fertilize it, like farmers do on their crop fields?
So how green can you be in 2013? What changes will you make? What do you plan to do more or less of? It takes forethought. It’s a mindset—a lifestyle we need to adopt, like the woman in the Facebook post and like Estil’s folders.
Let’s face it; we could all be greener, unless, of course, you’re Kermit.

(Rebecca French Smith, of Columbia, is a multimedia specialist for the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.)

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