Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not All Environmentalists Are Tree-Hugging Hippies

In response to several emails I have received I have decided to write about what motivated me to start this blog. I've been called a "treehugger" and "hippie" many times and also receive emails lecturing me about why global warming is a myth. In reality I am far from being a hippie. I grew up playing basketball and football and I don't care for Bob Marley. My reasons for living green have actually have nothing to do with global warming. As weird as it sounds, the thing that drove me to live a greener life was 9/11. I know this sounds strange, but please allow me a chance to explain.

Ten of the hijackers involved in the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were Saudi nationals. Street vendors in Saudi Arabia sell anti-US t-shirts to tourists. Saudi Arabia earns billions of dollars every year in money spent on oil by US citizens. We are pouring money into the hands of people who hate us! What a slap in the face? It's like giving the school bully your lunch money before he even asks for it.

Then there is recycling. I clearly remember the moment I decided recycling is important. I was in my last year of college and as a favor to my favorite professor I was giving a tour of the College of Business to a new assistant professor from India. He had such a puzzled look on his face as we walked past a coffee shop. I asked him if something was wrong. He replied, "No, nothing is wrong. I am just so confused at this country's drinking habits. I just saw over 30 empty bottles of water in the trash can. Where I come from we would keep the bottle because it would have so many other uses. So many people buy these waters for two dollars and then discard the bottles while there is a drinking fountain right there. You guys are so lucky to have such clean water available on demand and don't even realize it. It is foolish to pay for something that is free."

I had no idea how to respond to that. He had such a good point. That comment stuck in my mind for weeks for some reason and I found myself looking at my life and how much money I spend on things I don't really need. Luckily I didn't have to worry about tuition due to good grades, but I still had to come up with rent, food, and entertainment expenses while only working 30 hours a week at a part-time job. I cut so much waste out of my budget by becoming more conscious about my environmental footprint and I've used this blog to share some of things I did. Living green saves you green($).

There are a large number of people living green because they are hippies or 'treehuggers'. However it's important to realize that this is only a portion of the total population of eco-friendly citizens. There are many more reasons people choose to live green.

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