I read an interesting article in USA Today last week called "Grandma's greener than you." The gist of it was that even when you think you're being environmentally friendly and living a "green" lifestyle, your grandparents have you beat hands down. The Great Depression taught them all about using up, making do, and going without long before there was any concern about the effects of overconsumption on the environment, or before recycling was something you did by choice.
Click here to read the entire article. I agree with the point that often the "greener" option is to go without, i.e. riding a bike or walking versus buying a Prius, air-drying laundry vs. purchasing energy-efficient appliances, wearing your old pajamas vs. buying new organic cotton brands. And I agree that too often we think that "going green" means buying something.
But I take issue with the wrapup, which states that "the economy as we know it would tank if consumers lived as 'green' as our grandparents did." There must be other ways of contributing to the economy than simply buying more crap. My husband and I eat at our local restaurants, pay for a delivery of organic produce, put gas in our cars, and buy groceries. I still have my hair cut and get an occasional facial or pedicure. I refuse to believe that I am somehow part of the problem just because I've given up buying new stuff.
Maybe the key part of that sentence is "the economy as we know it." Maybe THAT economy SHOULD tank. Maybe we need a different economy. I'm disappointed that the article didn't go into this, but maybe I'm expecting too much from a mainstream news source.
Have you heard or read any interesting news about how a new or different economy could work, one that was based more on needs and values, and that didn't rely on getting people to buy more stuff they don't need? Please tell us about it in the Comments section. And chime in with any thoughts or questions as well.