Category Archives: Consumerism

10 reasons why you’re not green!

Recycling is not the answer

Recycling doesn't mean you're green

First, there were the hotels with their “Please reuse your towels so we can save water” cards. They were one of the first industries to get on board with greenwashing about a decade ago. I admit, at first, I was happy to see this, and reused my towels. Yet, it was really just a ploy to save money for if they really cared about the environment, they would have also had recycling boxes in every room and offered non-disposable plates and cutlery in the restaurants.

I’m starting to see this same kind of green superficiality making its way into our society. With its guise of being positive (and I’m not saying it’s 100% not) it’s not challenging us to question our daily habits and make changes that will really make a difference. I constantly hear  “Oh I’m green because I recycle” or “I’m green because I buy energy-efficient lightbulbs” and “Oh cool, my X brand coffee cup is compostable”. As if it took just a purchase to be green.

You are not green simply because: Continue reading

Is being green a luxury in developing nations?

Reflecting on being green in Cuba

Reflecting on being green in Trinidad, Cuba

This past week-end, i got back from a much needed vacation in Cuba. While there, I reflected a lot upon the feasibility of being green in a developing, socialist no less, nation.

Often in the developed world, we equate being “green” with “green” products. It’s true that making the switch from conventional to “green” or eco-friendly products is definitely a step in the right direction, but I think we’ve lost track of the essential meaning.  A green lifestyle should be about reducing consumption, not the buying of new “green” products. Check out the story of stuff if this doesn’t make sense.

It’s easy to be ethnocentric and judge other peoples cultures. Immediately upon arriving in Varadero, I was quick to judge the resort I was at for not recycling (shampoo bottles, pop cans, wine & rum bottles etc.) and bus drivers that would idle for half an hour at rest stops.

However, upon reflection, the Cubans did much more than I have seen Canadians do in a long time which probably impacts the environment even more. They live a lifestyle that we have long forgotten about. A lifestyle that embodies the basics of no waste, albeit for economic reasons. Continue reading

Meet Ecoist – Fashion accessories that are green, fair-trade and sexy!

If we were to pick a stereotype about women’s interests, shopping would probably appear. Yet, we know consumerism just contributes to waste and pollution from the production of the goods. Well, what if I told you you could have your cake and eat it too? While waiting for my flight home from Reagan National Airport inses Washington DC a few weeks ago, I found the cutest purse in a gift shop that put the biggest smile on my face. Meet Ecoist

Eccist purses made from magazine waste

Ecoist fair-trade purses and clutches from magazine waste and candy-wrappers

Ecoist develops unique gifts and fashion accessories for the eco-minded individuals with recycled candy wrappers, food packages, billboards, and other materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.  In addition to being adorable, Ecoist plants one tree for every bag bought. Continue reading

Spring clean your wardrobe and get free clothes by hosting a clothing exchange party

Green fashion tips with clothing exchange parties

Host a clothing exchange party with friends

Have you ever  heard the saying that if you haven’t worn something in the last year, you probably won’t wear it ever again? So why not spring clean your wardrobe?  Clear out those drawers of shirts that pinch under your arms and jeans that hug inappropriately tightly.  Empty the closets of scarves, gloves and jackets that looked great in the store but never worked right when you got them home.  Gather them all up and throw yourself a clothing exchange party. Continue reading

Tips for a green and romantic Valentine’s Day

Tips for an green Valentine's Day

Tips for a green Valentine's Day

Everyone seems to complain about Valentine’s Day and how it’s just another “commercial” holiday to sell chocolates, cards and put pressure on people’s relationships, not to mention  single people! Although I agree, I view Valentine’s Day differently. I think it’s great to have a holiday dedicated to love. And if you don’t like the commercial aspect, don’t play into. Instead, here are some green and  eco friendly gift ideas that will guarantee you a romantic night while supporting green and sustainable businesses and eco friendly initiatives. Continue reading

Green must-see; the Story of Stuff, now en français & 10 other languages

The Story of Stuff - Extraction

The Story of Stuff - Extraction

There are (2) two things that have greatly impacted my life; reading Diet for a New America and watching The Story of Stuff.  It was one of the principle reasons I decided to start Urban Green Girl.

The Story of Stuff was one of the most viewed, viral videos of 2007 with over 4 million pages views.  Because of the immense international attention it received, they decided to launch an international version of its coveted online video. Now it contains sub-titles for (10) ten languages including French, Spanish, Hebrew, German, Arabic and Mandarin.

I am so excited as I can finally share this video with my francophone and other international friends for whom it’s been so difficult to explain green living!

So what is this video about you ask? The Story of Stuff:

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Don’t be left out in the cold!

Inform yourself today and learn about the impact you have on the world by watching the Story of Stuff. Watching this video is STEP #1 in starting your green life.

Consumerism - Planned obsolesence