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How Green is My Valley?

Updated on October 17, 2014
Nightcat profile image

Nightcat is a Jane of all trades and likes to pass on tips she’s found useful around the home.

Not as green as I'd like it

Just how green is my valley? Or yours, for that matter? We all like to think we are living in a world of utter greeness, but are we? Keep on reading to see how much better we can all do and help preserve the earth at the same time. I'll be looking at some green myths and what we can do about it.

These of course are my personal views. Many in the green movement say we need to become economists. Therefore we need to add up the total energy and greenhouses gases used by factories, our use of transportation, and so forth. If for example you have to drive an hour and a half each way to dispose of a compact bulb, or worse still have absolutely no way to dispose of one safely, does the environment really win?

Intro art provided by artbymichelle

NOSTALGIA: This lens was featured on the Earth Day 2012 Monsterboard , Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and on Earth Day and What is Wrong with our Planet Earth?

This hub placed second in the Earth Day Challenge! Everyone who did a charity lens and entered is a winner in my book.


Myth #1 Biodegradable Grocery Bags

No the myth isn't that they degrade, they do. Just not in a landfill. You see there is just too much compression in your average dump for them. Put even the fastest dissolving bag in a tightly compacted garbage heap and nothing happens.They are going to need exposure to air, sun and rain. In other words, put them in a compost heap.

The problem comes in that millions of Americans don't have access to a compost heap or other greener source of disposal. So they end up inside larger plastic garbage bags. In case you are wondering those green garbage bags have the same problem. Things need to breathe in order to degrade.

I'll admit my fair share of these green bags has gone to the garbage dump. It just isn't practical to try to compost the trash bags. Also do be aware that some of these bags don't degrade as fast as you might like to think. Yes they degrade, but in the meantime they can end up in dumps or that nice continent of trash we have off the US coast.

Solution: Use a canvas or any other type of shopping bag. Reuse bags you have. Compost green bags when possible. Do without trash bags so long as your waste management provider doen't object.

Learn more about these bags HERE

Leaf art provided by artbymichelle

How to Make a Cloth Grocery Bag

The Myths of "Green" Energy

I don't doubt the premise of the book for a second. We only have to turn on the TV or radio to hear coal companies and other fossil fuel providers going on about how great the service they provide is for the environment. Sure there are greener energy sources but they aren't meeting the US and worldwide power demands.

Myth #2 All trash is handled in a green manner

Then where, pray tell, did the continent of trash in the sea come from? Yes trash is supposed to be taken to a sanitary landfill, but often to cut corners it can end up in other places. The best way to find out where your trash is going is to either contact the company directly, or better yet Google them. If they have violations you won't hear about it from them.

The other problem is landfills themselves. What do we do with these sites when they are filled? Some areas build parks on top or what not. But in the long term what does all that compacted trash do to the environment? It isn't going to degrade and it will still leach any toxic chemicals it contains into the soil.

Solution: Find out where your trash goes. Compost whatever you can. Cut down on using products that don't biodegrade such as plastics whenever possible.

Lovely sea art courtesty of artbymichelle

the Great Pacific plastic trash island

The problem continues to grow. If we don't know where our trash is going, here is where it may end up.

Myth of Green Marketing

Very thought-provoking reading. The truth is a lot of green marketing is going on that would have you think we are living in a green wonderland. Truth is not many of these products are truly green, and many need extra care in disposal to be so. Akso as the book points out many products and companies aren't even needed but we are taught by the media that they are.

Myth #3 Green bulbs are saving the planet

Yes and no.The problem with green bulbs is this; they contain mercury. Yes they use less energy, and in the long run burn far longer, but an awful lot end up in garbage dumps since folks don't know any better or can't find a disposal center for them. The mercury then contaminates the soil, ground water, and ends up in our waterways.

There is also the issue of bulb production itself. You make a product with mercury in it and you don't have a safe plant no matter how many percautions you take. Some folks in the green movement compare them to other green-washed products. Things that sound very good for the environment if you don't look that hard.

Sure you and I may save money, but what about the health of the workers in the plants? Also a lot of people are pointing out that the electric bill does not drop all that much with these bulbs. It can even go up if you are leaving the lights on far longer than you did in the first place. For more information, look HERE

I'm not saying that green bulbs don't help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they do. But if in all honesty you know the mercury containing bulbs will end up in the trash the point to me at least, is moot. Right now as it stands a lot of people are simply unable to dispose of these bulbs properly.

Solution: Dispose of bulbs in recommended manner. Use lights only when needed. Do things in the daylight outdoors if possible, or make sure enough natural light is reaching you indoors. Mother nature is still the greenest solution.

Waterfall image courtesy of artmymichelle

The False Promise of Green Energy

Takes a truthful look at what is more likely to happen with all our wonderful green energy devices. Let's face it, folks are lazy. I am including myself here. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how much will just end up in the trash, warning labels and all.

Compact Florescent Light Bulbs: The Truth

You see if we honestly don't intend to dispose of these bulbs in the right manner, or simply can't for whatever reason, all that mercury goes right into the environment we are trying to save. So it is a toss up. Save greenhouse gases now and dump mercury into the earth later, or use more energy now?

Quick Green Tips

Reuse your shopping bags. Almost everywhere you go now, you get plastic bags. You can reuse these bags at least once, think cleaning the cat litter, or lining a small trash can. They also make instant gloves for messy jobs.

Get cloth shopping bags. You can also purchase cloth shopping bags at almost any grocery store. Kept clean they make a great green way to get your groceries home. Use them around the house for instant storage. Some stores offer money back on your bill if you use your own bags.

Power strips are your friend. Find a power strip with an on off strip for non-vital electronics. You can switch of TVs, computers, and other devices instead of constantly pulling out plugs. Consider switching off appliances, lights, and other devices in rooms you don't use daily. You also see savings on your energy bill too.

Comments or Ideas?

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    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Thanks stargoldteam12. :)

    • profile image

      stargoldteam12 5 years ago

      wow it so good.

    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Aww, thanks to you both for your kind comments, :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      really helped thank you so much helped a lot.:D

    • aruraza profile image

      aruraza 5 years ago

      Thanks great lens.

    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Aww, thank you so much KonaGirl the add is a total honor and surprise. Will add you up top! :)

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 5 years ago from New York

      I huge congrats to your excellent lens and 2nd place in the Charity Challenge! *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to "My Squid Angel Blessings for 2012" in the "Healthy Living » Green Living" neighborhood.

    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Thank you Tipi! I'm floored that I got second place. I'm so happy to see all the money going to charity. Three cheers for all the other worthy lensmasters who entered too!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm getting here a little late but in time to congratulate you for being one of the 2012 Earth Day Charity Challenge Winners! Thank you for myth busting, its sad that we may think we are helping when we are just doing more damage. I love your statement "Mother Nature is still the greenest solution."!...Blessed

    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Thank you TheLifestyleChanger! I figure honesty is always the best policy. Thanks for visiting. :)

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      A balanced approach. Blessings.

    • Nightcat profile image
      Author

      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Very true, cynthia-ann-leighton. Thanks for visiting! :)

    • cynthiannleighton profile image

      cynthiannleighton 5 years ago

      One step at a time...

    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Thanks so much alwaysjules! Thanks for visiting! :)

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      Congratulations on being featured in the Best of Squidoo 2012 Earth Day lenses. Blessed.

    • Nightcat profile image
      Author

      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Thanks to all of you for posting such wonderful, informative comments! I'm honored and touched to get this much feedback. Thank you! :)

    • profile image

      mizrae 5 years ago

      Not only are the CFL bulbs harmful to our health, they are all imported from another country .....have you heard about the Livermore Centennial LIght Bulb in California? http://www.centennialbulb.org/ It's been working for over 100 years. We produced them once, why not again?

    • profile image

      simpsonia 5 years ago

      Very good lens. Gave me lots of food for thought. Well done!

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 5 years ago

      I loved reading your points and myths. Very interesting. I hope that I can do a little more to help out with our greening.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      You brought an important point to light about how greenness is a marketing tool! dissolving the myths is important! This was a good read! Thanks

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      Reduce, reuse, recycle - many of our problems seem to stem from not reducing consumption of resources enough (especially considering how many humans there are). Consider green energy sources: with less consumption, those sources become a greater percentage of the energy profile. On a different note, I had the same plastic grocery bag (for litter) in my vehicle for years - just kept emptying it out. One day I went to empty it out and ended up cupping my hands to get the disintegrating bag and Its contents to the trash can. Yes, they degrade. Just not so quickly. You should have seen my face when I first tried to grab that bag by its handle and a piece came away instead; just as well you didn't hear my language....

    • joannalynn lm profile image

      joannalynn lm 5 years ago

      People need to find out if their community has a toxic chemical waste day. We have several scheduled throughout the year. The sanitation department sends out a bulk mailer. The mercury light bulbs, and any other toxic materials can be disposed of. Four times a year, the sanitation department provides a list of toxic materials, and informs people what to set aside. In our community, we are even asked to dispose of medications and not flush them or put them in the trash. The local pharmacies will accept old prescriptions or over the counter medications so they do not end up in the water supply or the landfill. City storm drains have a painted notice, with a fish symbol, indicating the water goes to streams and rivers. Some ideas to ask about.

    • Thrinsdream profile image

      Thrinsdream 5 years ago

      Love reading articles where people just don't blindly follow propaganda. Good one! With thanks and appreciation. Cathi x

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Yep! a lot of myths, so we must learn to compile info and separate the weeds.

      Great lens. Blessings

    • Nightcat profile image
      Author

      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Awww! Thanks so much Deadicated! Happy Earth Day to you too! :)

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Happy Earth Day, love your Lens. Kudos!

    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Thank you so much, skiesgreen! Thanks for the blessing, comment and visiting! Hugs to you too. :)

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      So glad you have added your voice to this cause. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Earthday and what is wrong with our planet earth. Hugs

    • Nightcat profile image
      Author

      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Thank you so much, Steve_Kaye. I figured if I admit I'm not that green myself maybe we can get a realistic conversation started. We are told now for example, not to eat much fish. So what happens when so many of these bulbs with mercury end up in dumps? I'm certainly not blaming folks I'm stuck in the same spot. In one video here a woman is told it will cost he thousands to get a broken bulb cleaned up. Most of us do it ourselves and at what cost to our health? Thanks for visiting!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      You have clearly shown the complexity of these myths. I agree that we need a complete approach to a small footprint lifestyle. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • Nightcat profile image
      Author

      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Aww, thank you aksem62! I have defunk compact bulbs laying around now because I have no way to dispose of them safely in my area. It just seems to me it may come back to bite us in the tailfeathers later.

    • aksem profile image

      aksem 5 years ago

      Thank you for saying the truth about green marketing. We need to think more ourselves and fewer believe the advertising.

    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 5 years ago

      Awww, thank you so much TMimzy! Thanks for visiting!

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      TMimzy 5 years ago

      Great lens, congratulations!