How To…Act Eco-Friendly When You Aren’t

I am at a conference in Colorado at the moment. Several conversations I have had reminded me of this post. So, I am sharing it again!



I grew up in Texas and have always been pretty conscious about being ‘green’. But then I moved to Seattle and –hello– I was out of my league. I quickly realized I was not as eco-friendly as I thought. Perhaps some of you will someday find yourself in a situation needing some assistance with a very ‘green’ crowd. Sure, you want to learn, but your home isn’t solar powered yet. So, how can you fake it till you make it? Here are some thoughts…


1. Know the Lingo. You aren’t an expert yet, but there are a few words you can sprinkle in that will elevate your credibility with the enviro-crew. Try and drop the words ‘thinking globally’ , ‘ sustainable’ ,  ‘carbon footprint’ and if you are feeling really confident ‘ genetically modified organisms’ or GMOs for short.

2. Grow Something. Basil, flowers, tomatoes … it doesn’t really matter. Just grow something. Having pots around your house gives you street cred… and if you need to escape a convo about growth hormones in meat you can always say “Excuse me, I need to tend to something in the garden.” Who can argue with that?

3. Divide by Two. Not four wheels, two. Roller blades, bikes, scooters, two feet…If it involves two instead of four then you win. Unless of course the four wheels are a Prius…then they win.

4. Get Your Meat From A Local Butcher.  This helps you on two fronts. First, its just plain good for you. Knowing the source your meat comes from gives you the opportunity to know what went into it and how it has been handled. Second, your vegetarian friends will give you a pass if you tell them your meat is locally & sustainably raised. Win, win.

5. Grow a beard. This obviously only pertains to men ( I hope). A beard is an outward manifestation of your inner beliefs. Plus, beards are in style.

6. Throw An Earth Day Party.  Everyone loves a party. If you throw an Earth Day Bash then you are pretty covered for the rest of the year. Just make sure you use actual dishes & not styrofoam. Thats a dead give away.

7. Bring Up The Polar Bears. A lot of conversations regarding environmental issues and stewardship can be a bit complex. Some scientific terms you may not be familiar with. If a discussion should go beyond your realm of understanding,  I suggest bringing up the polar bears. They are endangered and their plight is pretty straightforward. If global warming increases that means that the ice will melt. If the ice melts the polar bears will be in serious trouble. It’s a pretty obvious plot to follow.

8. Join the Sierra Club. You can put the newsletters straight in the trash…err, recycle bin…Just place the decal on your car & the card in your wallet. Voila! You have just joined the Eco-Fraternity.

9. Take Lots of Supplements. It seems that the environmentalists I know take gobs of supplements. Fish oil, omega 3, herbal vitamins. If you grow your garden (see #2) large enough and start a small fishery in your yard, then you will eventually be able to skip this step. Until then its up to the supplements. Keep a stash around and pop them when your friends are looking.

10. Get a Tarp. I can’t exactly tell you why you need a tarp. It just seems like the perfect prop for an eco-friendly person. It says ” I go camping” , “I collect my own firewood”, or “I have shelter in case of a natural disaster”.

Hope these tips are useful as you ‘green’ up your life.  The environment isn’t just for hippies anymore. Jump on the bandwagon. Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “How To…Act Eco-Friendly When You Aren’t

  1. Well said!! I think a great alternative for growing a beard, if you're a girl, is to stop shaving your legs/armpits. I mean, disposable razors clog up landfills, electric ones only increase your carbon footprint, and any chemical alternative was likely tested on animals. Showing off your "natural" legs in public will surely score you some points- that is, if you're brave enough. The girl sitting next to me at Vivace the other day pulled it off really well. (Double points: she got there on her bike!)

  2. So good to know! I've always been one of the crunchiest people in my various crowds, but that's not really saying much, since that's been in the Middle East and in TX. I would need this help were I to really live among crunchies themselves.

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  4. Eat granola and carry a reusable water bottle are also dead give-aways. I just told Rachel last night that it would be difficult for me to move to Texas because of the lack of recycling and excess of styrofoam

  5. You have me cracking up! And…I think I might adopt some of these practices. Thanks for the tips! :)Also, Jocelyn: Yes! Texans use an absurdly excessive amount of styrofoam. Like ABSURD. I don't think they've ever heard of paper cups!

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