Be Green Every Day

freshly chopped vegetables

When media and marketing campaigns use a phrase like “Go Green!” to sell products or increase their popularity, the effects can be good for awareness but bad for the movement. Some who see a “Go Green!” catch phrase on a product might buy it and think they have done enough.

Catch phrases may raise awareness, but awareness of our climate crisis is high enough. We need to take more everyday action to address climate change. For that, people need specific, practical advice. This is one of the main reasons I create and share recipes as Mango Power Girl. I give you recipes so you can go green every day — all are healthy and vegetarian, and I focus on local foods from organic producers with sustainable businesses.

My husband and I recently went to the best green festival I’ve seen — the Seattle 2008 Green Festival. We listened to Frances Moore Lappé, a pioneer of the green movement and one of the most influential people in the field. She wrote Diet for a Small Planet in the early 1970s, when it was not easy to get the green message across, especially for a woman. Lappé has dedicated her life to making people aware of how we affect our environment and how we can do better. Read more on her Small Planet Institute site. Her daughter, Anna Lappé helps take it to another level. I love Anna’s ideas on eating and cooking in a climate-friendly way. See more on her new site and her blog, Getcha Grub On.

The Seattle 2008 Green Festival offered tons of ways we can do better: natural and ethically produced foods, beer, wine, clothes, gadgets, and toys, responsible investing, political advice, and more. Many of the tips were simple, and I have seen them working in my daily life. For example, my office just started composting and buying more biodegradable supplies.

In 1969 at a conference in Seattle, Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson was on a conservation speaking tour, when he announced the first ever Earth Day. I applaud Earth Day, but I am not going to celebrate just for one day. I am going green more and more in everyday ways. In addition to sharing my foodstyle with you through Mango Power Girl, here are other initiatives I have taken that you might find interesting:

(1) Eat Local Now! — I am attending the Eat Local Now! dinner in my neighborhood of Seattle. For you Puget Sounders or Cascadians: find out what exactly is in season and when and also what you will find now at farmers’ markets. When you eat local and from farmers’ markets, you are eliminating “the middle man” and giving yourself a break financially, you are eating from more reliable and healthier sources, and you are helping your local economy, too.

(2) Edible Plant Sale — Eat more of what you can grow yourself. For my local readers, this links to Seattle Tilth’s annual edible plant sale, and elsewhere you should search for something similar. This event is extremely popular around where I live, where people are serious about what they grow and what they eat. Keep it up Seattle! This is something I want to practice more. It is harder if you don’t own the place you live in, but through Community Supported Agriculture (local CSAs here), P-Patches (specific to Seattle only), Container Gardening or Veggie Boxes that even students, renters, and city people with no space at home can join in.

(3) Watch “King Corn” — This is a must-see, independent film, maybe the movie of the year! Especially for Americans, this movie will open up your eyes to what the mainstream diet is really made of!

(4) Go Vegetarian, in more ways than ever — We already are vegetarians based on what we eat, but there are next steps we can take. I have to give my husband props for this one — he started buying vegetarian clothing, which means no more leather! He recently bought a pair of ethically made Vegetarian Shoes and belt, and he even gave up his once-cherished leather jacket. He wants to go vegan eventually, which I really admire. There is still more for us to weigh before we take a huge step like that, but the point is: there is always something more you can do.

Challenge yourself not just to “go green,” but instead to “go more green.” Educate yourself and change your habits, not for one day but for a lifetime. Make every day Earth Day!