10 Green Trends and Choices for 2009

December 2008

My friend and colleague Carl Frankel wrote a nice blog recently about the economic collapse, and he ends with, “Here's what I keep asking myself: would I exchange increased financial insecurity, and even some personal hardship, for a world rescued from eco-collapse? And of course the answer is, in a heartbeat, yes.” I spoke to him on the phone and he elaborated, saying that people talk about not knowing where the collapse’s bottom is, but that nobody is talking about the unlimited ceiling –the endless opportunities-- for creativity and green entrepreneurship.

I keep thinking about his optimistic view, his openness to sacrifice for the greater good, and I am inspired by it. I hope this opportunity—stepping up to fold green initiatives into our lives—becomes a trend for 2009. Not that we have to change our jobs and become green entrepreneurs, but we can change the way we look at our choices. Surely the change in the presidential administration will change the way the wind is blowing regarding eco-friendly choices—in a supportive and expansive way—and we can join in the emerging green opportunities whether we agree with the rest of Obama’s politics or not.

I was looking around the Internet for home trends in 2009, and a common theme seems to be to make homes very personal and personalized, to make them a sanctuary, to live responsibly using green, sustainable and Fair Trade products, and to get to know luxurious green products like bamboo towels. I have a few to add:

10 Green Trends and Choices for 2009
1. Home as sanctuary: Choose earthy colors.  Decorate with nature. Clear away clutter and worry. Take all toxic chemicals to a hazardous waste pickup center.
2. Home as nest: Choose to make your home more authentic than showy by ensuring that it suits your comfort needs. You’ll be surprised how you save and how this opens the door to shopping at yard sales and second hand stores.
3. Home as healing: Choose non-toxic products for everything from cleaning, to personal care, to renovating supplies. Choose healthy foods to eat. Drink filtered water. Help the body by giving it a place to recuperate.
4. Home as identity: Personalize your home by choosing to decorate with your own and family members’ artwork and favorite things.
5. Home as rest: Choose natural materials for your bed and bedding. Remove electronics from your bedroom, and if you have a digital clock, move it at least six feet from your bed to reduce electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Remove electric blankets. Choose to stop using dry cleaners that use perc and/or don’t hang dry cleaned clothes in your bedroom as the chemicals can put your nervous system on edge.
6. Home as value: What better place to walk your talk about caring for the planet than in your own home. You can begin by buying Fair Trade organic coffee and recycled paper products. You can choose energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, and make less toxic choices.
7. Home as simplicity: Choose less is more whenever you can; you’ll be amazed at how this cuts back on your consuming. Choose to simplify your shopping to the minimal. Meanwhile, clear out the clutter, giving that which is salvageable to Goodwill, or have a yard sale.
8. Home as beauty: Choose to get to know natural materials, such as bamboo towels and wool comforters. You’ll be surprised by how healing they are for your body compared to synthetic chemicals.
9. Home as health: Choose to maintain your home in an eco-friendly way to benefit your own health and that of the planet. Examples include organic lawn care, non-toxic cleaning, essential oils instead of synthetic perfumes and air fresheners, and zero VOC paints.
10. Home as connection: Choose to connect to others on the planet who are working to do their part to reduce global warming and toxic products. Take one step at a time to make a difference.
To read Carl Frankel’s blog, click here.

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