Great minds think alike.
Or at least greener minds do.
I was really excited to read a post by Treehugger's Collin Dunn over at Planet Green (which is owned by the Discovery Channel which also owns Treehugger) that talked about the difference between "green" and "greener". I wrote about the same topic a few weeks ago and it's very cool to see the idea popping up independently around the green blogosphere.
It's a hugely important concept. Green means doing something that has zero negative impact on the environment. Greener means it's better than how it's conventionally done. Green is a fixed target, greener, by definition, is a moving one, always behind pushed down the horizon as we approach the eco-nirvana of green.
Collin came up with some great examples of the difference between green and greener.
• Recycling is greener; cradle-to-cradle, zero-waste design is green.
• Hybrid cars are greener; bicycling is green.
• Grass-fed beef is greener; not eating meat is green.
I would add a slight qualifier to the bike being green- bikes won't truly be 100% green until the infrastructure supporting the design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and end of life care is all renewable, and sustainable.
None of us are green until we're all green.
What does all this mean? First of all, green is the goal, the thing that we're working toward each day. This isn't meant to be a diatribe against these "greener" steps, or an indictment of those who are doing them. Greener is good; what isn't so good is when we get lulled into thinking that they're enough. That brings me to the next takeaway: Green is hard, and that's okay. We're facing big problems, and we need big changes to create the fast solutions that we need to solve the climate crisis. Consider this greener vs. green meme an aspiration, not a condemnation. We all want to improve our general well-being, so keep green in mind as something to aim for, rather than settling for green enough for now. It's a moving target, so don't get confused by all the different messages, and use the target to keep you moving toward green.