With more and more companies and individuals pursuing green solutions in order to “save the world”, the question arises: How green are we?
Japanese METI’s decision to treat biofuels as a source of greenhouse gases and require oil companies to cut emissions reveals that there is a gap between the Kyoto Protocol’s “definition of green” (where bioethanol and other biofuels are treated as zero-emission fuels) and our current reality where producing and transporting account for a considerable and increasing amount of emissions.
Therefore, a new trend is emerging in the business world–the triple green: Green energy, green recycling(nothing new here) and now green manufacturing.
The holy commandment is: “Clean and Green mass production, can you do it?”
Take the solar industry, for example. Every less gram of silicon means not only reduced expenditure on silane (a chemical compound), but also on water consumed in the process of etching the wafer slices.
That means a lower cost end product, which in turn increases the consumer’s adoption (due to the lower price) and a more friendly environmental approach overall–the ideal win-win scenario as we make steps towards global mass-production levels on renewable solutions.
But wait! Can the same concept be applicable in our own lives? How green are we? Or even who is greener: My neighbor who drives a hybrid car and is a vegetarian or my friend who rides a bicycle and is carnivore? Could we use the triple green approach in a personal level as well?
The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Let’s take a moment to analyze our own triple green bottom line.
“Green energy” in this case would mean measuring and keep a track on our own carbon footprint, and there are websites to help calculate this.
If we are doing well in this area, we would move to “green recycling” which would be much more than just putting the right garbage in the right trash-can every Monday through Saturday (in countries like Japan for example, the waste management and recycling technologies are among the most advanced in the world but in the same Japan, in one year, each person uses, on average, 200 sets of disposable chopsticks)
In my definition, that would mean reflecting how good you are on reusing things and avoiding unnecessary buying. Do you really need that Avocado Slicer?
Last but not the least, would be the “green manufacturing” concept and again, my personal definition would be a bold approach more into the direction of how good are you in terms of transmitting your eco-values on a daily basis.
In the end, we (as evolving beings) must have as a minimum and noble common goal: Bequeathing our children a better world than the one we inherited.
But before we start pointing fingers as a generation, we have to keep searching for solutions, and questioning each one of them in order to avoid “green blindness.”
An Einstein quote illustrates well the importance of questioning:
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
Hopefully, our questioning will bring better and true answers to our sustainable challenges in the future.
Written by Flavio Souza