Elizabeth: It’s not easy being green
Do you ever feel like you are being guilted into being green? I sure do! Everywhere I go these days someone is telling me about how terrible conventional products are and how much better so called “green” products are.
I recently went to a friend’s house and everything (and I mean pretty much everything) was either green, “natural,” or eco-friendly. From her yogurt to her hand soap to her maxi-pads (yes – her maxi-pads were eco-friendly), her home was filled with enviro-friendly products.
I’m happy to be able to afford organic hamburger and nitrite-fee lunch meat for my kids. However, when I see people like this, I have to admit I start to feel guilty.
It gets worse when I feed my kids some not-so-healthy or not-so-green food product and suddenly I feel the judgement of these health-food, planet saving junkies burning through me. It is no longer enough to give my kids fruits and vegetables – now they have to be organic fruits and vegetables, and organic beef, and organic chicken – and goodness don’t wash their dishes with that soap because you are going to give them cancer and destroy the earth.
However, a study that came out from Stanford University this week is making me feel slightly better about the lack of organic food products in my home. Here are just a few of the more interesting facts from the study :
- Organic fruits and vegetables have no more nutrient value than conventional fruits and vegetables.
- Organic produce only had a 30% lower risk of having pesticide contamination than conventional fruits and vegetables (if I am paying the extra money for organic than that number should be 100%)
- Pesticide residue on all foods – organic and conventional – generally fell within the safe level.
Also, a recent report from TerraChoice – a marketing firm – found that 95% of all green products mislead the public on how green they actually are.
No matter because the green police will still fight tooth and nail to prove that green and organic is always better. In fact there has already been a petition started at Moveon.org to force the authors of the Stanford University study on organic food to retract its findings!
How did we, as a nation, become so sucked into the green phenomenon? It is called marketing and propaganda – pure and simple.
Nothing has changed recently with how we eat or how our vegetables are grown or how the earth is affected by conventional products. What has changed is what we – as the consumer – are fed by the media and advertisers.
Green products and organic food are a marketing and money-making dream for companies. A company can make simpler, less effective products – packaged in a less expensive wrapper – call it green and charge double the price. If I were a company trying to help the bottom line – these types of products would seem like a gold-mine to me and I am sure most companies feel the same way. In fact in 2011, consumers spent $24.4 billion on organic food alone – this during a recession – and that doesn’t include the billions of dollars that are spent on all the other green products.
Still, I’m not above admitting that all the pro-green hype has worked its magic on me. I still buy certain organic or green products for my family, especially if it’s about the same price as non-organic.
But if I can’t afford the specialty green products or uber-expensive organic food, I’m going to stop beating myself up about it.
What about you? Green, or guilty, or a little of both?