The Twin Cities Green Guide is a new non-profit organization that formed in August of 2000. Our organization will keep the web site updated and create a new print edition of this guidebook every four years. You can read further about the Inspiration behind beginning The Green Guide and Meet Our Team!
The main goals during the making of this guide was to:
- Create a user-friendly book.
- Focus on introducing issues of sustainability to the community.
- Work cooperatively as a team.
- Work with the community as much as possible.
- Have fun, learn a lot, and meet new people.
This Green Planet
It is no secret that our planet is a sacred place that needs to be protected. Today, technological advancements and consumer lifestyles have made going green more important than ever! With the rate that goods are produced and purchased, at the rate consumers drain through resources, and at the rate we emit toxins into the air, water, and earth, this planet will not have enough to survive much longer. If we don’t begin to think more consciously about our decisions today, we will destroy the opportunity for a sustainable life for future generations.
Many people don’t tend to think about how their actions and choices are truly impacting this earth, and a lot of this has to do with a lack of education and knowledge on the subject. Is it because we generally don’t care as a society? No. For the most part, finding valuable information about products, services, and resources have been difficult to find, as corporations and companies try to hide the facts in order to promote consumerism.
Luckily, going green is becoming easier, as more people are standing up and speaking out! With the digital era on the rise and networking becoming increasingly easier and more accessible, obtaining useful and valuable knowledge about what you can do to become a more conscious consumer and live greener is available within minutes. More corporations and companies are offering products and services that give the consumer the choice to go green rather than using traditional products and services that are harmful. Additionally, with a greener lifestyle on the rise, more companies have been making the switch and advertise their conscious choices with pride, making conscious consumerism even easier.
Imagine for a moment that we live in a place where there is more than enough clean water for everyone, we can pick up any food and not have to be worried about what is in it, we can buy material items without questioning if anyone or anything was exploited in the process, and there are enough resources to never have to worry about running out. If everyone starts making conscious decisions about what they’re consuming, who their dollars are funding, and how to make sustainable choices, the world we want to live in will become a reality!
Do you know where your food is coming from? Do you know what harmful chemicals and additives are added into so much food on the shelves of every grocery store today? Most consumers don’t think about this very much, but grocery stores can offer some of the most unsustainable and harmful products available to consumers. Most meats available are loaded up with dyes, hormones, and antibiotics, which are harmful to our bodies and compromises our health. Most chocolate products and coffees are grown and harvested using child labor and slaves. Prepackaged foods are loaded up with harmful chemicals and genetically modified organisms, which causes long-term health problems for consumers.
Many food products available are marketed into making the consumers believe they are purchasing something that is healthy and wholesome rather than outright notifying consumers what is truly in their food. Many of the additives are a cheaper way to massively produce a product, assure shelf longevity, and make more products available faster. Many food products may use labels stating “Natural Ingredients,” “Whole Wheat,” “Fat Free,” “Sugar Free,” “Free Range,” “Made With Real Fruit/Vegetable,” and so on. Many consumers grab these items off the shelves, feeling good that they are purchasing a product that is healthy and wholesome, but in most instances, that’s not the case. Labels are there to grab the attention of the consumer and sway them into the purchase. The thing to be aware of these particular products is:
- If the products claims to not have an ingredient added, what is being used instead?
- Find out the definition of particular terms by the FDA and the company producing the product.
- A product may claim it uses a particular ingredient, but what else is being used?
Many people have no idea where to begin when it comes to thinking more carefully about their food purchases. Fortunately, there are lots of people who have gone through and done the research about particular food companies and products, and have made their research available to other conscious consumers. Additionally, making the switch is much easier than people think! The Green Guide has put together lots of valuable information about how to shop mindfully and support ecological, democratic, and humane food systems:
- Learn about the Hazards of GMOs to you and your family and what products to look out for.
- The difference between Factory Farming and Organic Foods.
- How to be mindful when eating out at Restaurants and cut back on restaurant waste.
- Ways to support Community Supported Agriculture and Local Produce.
- How to effectively read Food Labels and know exactly what you’re buying.
- How to maintain a sustainable and Healthy Diet.
Striking a Balance
As one of the leading nations in consumerism, we need to really start asking ourselves what is really necessary. In a consumer market where we are encouraged to purchase anything to our hearts’ desires, it’s too easy to get caught up in materialistic greed under the illusion that we deserve material items. In the heart of the moment between deciding what to purchase and what not to purchase, we tend to not think about:
- What materials have been used in the production of the product and how harmful are the materials and the process?
- Who was exploited in the production of the product?
- What will happen to that product once you no longer want it?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting material things, but a balance needs to be struck between how many materialistic possessions one has, where the possessions came from, and what materials were used in the making of that item. This is another one of those instances where consumers need to really educate themselves on their purchases.
The Green Guide offers valuable information to educate consumers about goods and products they may want:
- Learn how to become a Compassionate Consumer and make more conscious decisions about the companies you support.
- Get great Advice to effectively change the way you shop and make a positive difference in your community.
- How to have a No Waste Holiday (because we all know much consumerism goes into the holidays).
- What Appliances you should purchase for your home and how to effectively recycle old appliances.
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Energy, Energy, Energy
We are on the brink of facing a massive energy crisis soon, in both this nation and the world. With technology on the rise, we cannot afford to continue to utilize finite resources the way we are. At the rate we are consuming limited and finite resources, such as fossil fuels, coal, and crude oils, we will deplete the supply within a century (and that’s the best case scenario, when you take into consideration we don’t have a definite measure of what is left and we don’t know if future usage will rise). This very well could be a crisis many of us will face in this lifetime unless we make changes to the way we utilize current finite resources and begin switching over to renewable energy sources.
In addition to running out of finite energy sources, the pollution and toxins created by these energy sources have created mass amounts of damage and will continue to unless we make a change fast. Crude oil ships have tipped over in the ocean, causing damage that cannot be undone. Mining has polluted water sources, something that cannot be undone. They’re even discussing drilling the Great Barrier Reef for oil, something that once it happens will destroy that area and cannot be undone! How many valuable resources and how much of the earth must be destroyed for the sake of one resource that gets burned within moments? How much needs to be destroyed before it’s enough?
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are many ways to either use current finite resources more conservatively and consciously or ways to switch over to renewable energy sources. Home Efficiency is a great way to start consuming energy more effectively. When looking into purchasing products, reward companies using renewable energy and smarter energy usage with your support and business. Don’t be afraid to tell friends and family about the changes you’ve made and encourage them to do the same.
It may take time and effort before we begin to see major changes in energy consumption and energy sources, but every effort you make it just one step towards the ultimate goal!
Be The Change You Wish to See in The World!
There is so much that every individual person can do to contribute to the efforts of the greater vision! Start living more sustainable, educated, and conscious today so that we may all start seeing a better world tomorrow!