by kellie abrahamson
Everyone wants to do their part to help the environment but some of the ways weive been taught to go green have proved to be less than effective. In fact, certain actions widely regarded as eco-friendly are actually hurting the environment. Here are a few green myths that you shouldnit fall for.
Myth 1: Organic food is better for you
Reality: Sometimes buying organic makes a difference, other times not so much. Organic products are defined as being produced without antibiotics, growth hormones, conventional pesticides or fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients. While the jury is still out on the nutritional benefits of organically grown foods (at least in the eyes of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), going organic will cut back your pesticide exposure. Certain fruits and veggies, such as peaches, grapes, celery, cherries, spinach and strawberries, retain more pesticides and should always be bought organic. Others, like avocados, bananas, broccoli, kiwi, mangos, onions, pineapples and sweet peas, are less likely to have increased chemical exposure and are ok to buy non-organic. For a complete list of whatis safe and whatis not, visit foodnews.org/fulllist.php.
Myth 2: Organics are better for the environment.
Reality: Itis really all about where your food comes from. If youire buying locally-grown organics then youire helping. If your fruit was jetted in from South America, then youire not. The shorter the distance it takes for something to go from the farm to your plate, the less energy is consumed and the less pollution released. That goes for organics as well as their conventional counterparts. Get inspired to eat locally by checking out 100milediet.org.
Myth 3: Buy a Hybrid.
Reality: Hybrids are a great way to preserve our dwindling natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but donit go out and trade in your car just yet. It takes the equivalent on a yearis worth of fuel to build a new vehicle according to scientists at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. If your car is fairly new (less than 8 years old), altering your driving habits and keeping up with maintenance is all you need to do to help make an impact. For ways to drive green, visit greenercars.org/drivinggreen.html.
Myth 4: Donit buy CFLs, they contain mercury.
Reality: This is a topic that caused quite a debate at EU. On the one hand, the tiny amount of mercury contained in CFLs can, if released from its glass tubing, contaminate up to 6000 gallons of water. And, because of the potential hazards of mercury exposure, cleaning up a broken bulb is an arduous process. But, on the other hand, CFLs reduce greenhouse gasses and landfill waste (because they last so long) and save 70% more energy than regular bulbs. Should you choose to switch to CFLs, the most important thing to keep in mind is that proper disposal of the bulbs is key. For more info on CFLs and to find a place near you to recycle them, visit earth911.com/hazardous/cfl.
by kellie abrahamson