We’re all on a road to a “greener daily life.” Some of us just don’t know it yet. There are better versions of the products we use every day – food, clothing, homes, and transportation – products that are beautiful, delicious, well designed and, at the same time:
- Nourish us – using organic materials to feed, care for, and clothe us in ways that enhance our health and our planet’s;
- Restore environmental balance – reducing atmospheric carbon to reverse global warming;
- Create less or no waste – employing cleaner production methods, and enabling reuse and recycling once their useful life is over;
- Build a clean energy economy – enabling modern life without tearing up the earth and polluting the air we breathe;
- Do all of these things while creating good jobs that raise everyone’s living standards.
I know this new economy and a cleaner everyday life is inevitable because the products are just better – better designed, healthier, tastier, more beautiful than the products we got from 20th century industry. What I don’t know is how quickly they will become our “new normal.” And timing is everything. If we can accelerate the adoption of clean economy products, we can make a huge difference in the world we leave our children and their quality of life.
This is where you and I come in. The most important thing each of us can do is to simply take one step forward. Choose a starting point that matters to you – coffee or cosmetics, blue jeans or baby clothes. We have no rules, just information and resources you can use to make your own choices.
We have to buy these everyday products anyway. Since we have a choice, let’s buy better versions of them. By making more thoughtful choices, by becoming conscious consumers, we can “be the change we want to see in the world,” to paraphrase Gandhi.
My own journey, which produced GreenerDailyLife.com, started as a response to the dark side of our everyday life. I opened my closet and found that lots of my clothes were made under sweatshop working conditions, using fabrics produced with toxic chemicals. I opened my kitchen cabinets and looked around my home, and found pretty much the same story all around me. We thought we outlawed air and water pollution, child labor and sweatshop conditions – we didn’t! We just exported them to poorer countries that are too desperate for the business to say no. But they all come back to us in the form of toxic substances in our food and cosmetics, global warming, and social unrest.
As I looked for alternatives, I was inspired by the thousands of smart, creative people who go to work every day to reinvent their industries and create a truly sustainable 21st century economy. Paul Hawken is one of the smartest thinkers I know of on the subject of business, the environment, and our quality of life. He has this to say about the environmental and social messes made by 20th century industry, as well as the opportunities that exist to clean them up and create something better:
“If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”*
We’re here to help you explore this awesome new everyday world. We want you to find better products that contribute to your health and happiness, and to a healthier, happier world. Don’t think you have to change everything. Pick one thing – something that gives you joy, but whose inner story can give you greater joy when chosen consciously. Start there and see how it feels.
Know a product or service we should be sharing here? Have a suggestion for how we can make this work better for you? Send me an email at Chet@GreenerDailyLife.com. I promise to respond.
Chet Van Wert
* “The Ecology of Commerce,” Paul Hawken
"Preserving life should be the natural result of commerce, not the exception."- Paul Hawken
"The cash register is the daily voting booth in democratic capitalism. We don’t have to purchase products that destroy or buy from companies that harm."- Paul Hawken
"There is no business to be done on a dead planet."- David Brower
"A business is simply an idea to make other people's lives better."- Richard Branson
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."- Theodore Roosevelt
"If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves."- Thomas Edison