12 October 2009

Sustainable Guidelines

I am all for a sustainable life but there are a few rules that I use to evaluate a product, service, company or idea by. Any others you think should be included?

1. Quality.

The quality of a natural, organic, "green", sustainable product must match certain qualitative attributes of what I'm currently using. I recently tried finding a natural deodorant. I tried out nature's gate and it was not doing the job. Yes, it was natural and better for my body. But it did not have as much protection and I just felt uncomfortable. Therefore I switched back to Dove temporarily. It doesn't mean I've given up. I went through a couple natural toothpaste before I found one that I was comfortable with. So I try to swap out everything for a green thing but it has to be of the same or better quality.

2. Price.

While I am willing to pay a little more for certain organic products, I am not going to dip into my savings or sacrifice my first born child for a ounce of all natural body scrub. Sometimes I don't understand the price disparity. If these natural, organic products are made from renewable resources, I'm not too sure why the prices are so much more expensive. You'd think they'd be cheaper. But that's not the case. I've seen in the last few years though some prices start to compare to their unsustainable counterparts

3. Convenience/Accessibility

I am all for living a sustainable life. But if the nearest farmer's market is 50 miles away, how the hell am I going to save the world one organic bell pepper at a time? Thus is the case for a lot of people living in urban areas and especially those living in low-income areas. Trust me, there aren't any farmer's markets in Cabrini Green. Therefore it needs to be accessible.

4. Transparency

With the plethora of products and services guilty of greenwashing, everything is "green" these days. I have to be able to trust the product, service, company, or etc. What do products mean when it says its "naturally derived"? Why not just list the products? Oh so you make vegan gym shoes but your manufacturing plants expose your employees to harsh conditions, you waste beyond measure, and the energy used to do so could light a city. I need to know that what I'm using is what it says and is worth it.

5. Realistic and Logical

Being that we're looking for sustainable ways to approach our lives these days, it leaves room for innovation and creativity. I find that the most exciting. New ways to do old things. But if my best substitute for ajax is finding suitable beach salt...ummm not going to happen. I'm supposed to go to lake michigan and sift through the sand in order to clean my tub? I need plausible things that will work for my lifestyle.

I don't care what you say, you aren't gonna catch me peeing in the shower.

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