03 March 2008

Green Living

I attended the Green Living Show this weekend. And had some pretty interesting conversations (and a photo op to boot!).

I was eavesdropping a fair bit while at the MetroVancouver booth. When a woman asked, "If I can't do worms, how do I compost?" I had to jump in. I was pleased to be able to participate in her inquiry since this has been of interest to me as I consider how to answer my own questions on green. MV is apparently working on getting community composting units for those of us who dwell in apartments where worms and the like aren't an option. But we're only at the testing stage. Well, at least we know. They had a good laugh when I told them my landlord had threatened eviction if I didn't recycle. Yeah, no jurisdiction, baby.

I also asked many people why they thought their company or organization was green. Many got defensive at first. Until I clarified that I was researching this and not attacking their business. Then they could answer (and some did so quite authentically) about how they do (or do not) fit this green living gusto. One man, who has his product in Walmart (who was also there representin' all its green-ness), said he figures that the corporation is ready for green (because it's in their best interest) but he's not sure the Walmart demographic is quite there yet. Another woman, who works at a travel agency that will offset a portion of all flights booked through them, says she's heard many different opinions from people. Her favorite? That the green movement is just like the Catholic Church: it also requires penance.

I left feeling like I learned something but I wonder if it was because I knew what I was looking for? A quick word with a Hydro employee brought to the surface the idea that sometimes we need a personal experience to change our activities. We see crying children in Africa on television or the web regularly. But do we give? But something happens to us when we go to Africa, see the children and are personally affected by their reality.

So I'm asking: How do you create a private conversion on a public issue?

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