13 September 2007

To Be Organic or Not To Be. What’s the Question?

Reposted from DeafDC.com
By Liz Stone on Mon 2 Jul 2007

Thanks to Shakespeare, we all think often about the question of being. For me, it is especially about sustainable living. It’s a no-brainer. We all know that global warming has gotten its own hot place these days-everyone knows we have to do something to save our planet.

So, what should we do? What can we do? The good news is that the eco-revolution is happening. Thousands of earth-saving ideas are popping up left and right. Food gets the spotlight for now. Many restaurants are now serving dishes loaded with locally grown produce and meat. Vegetarian and “good-conscience” meat selections are on the rise. Even generic stores like Safeway, Giant, and Harris Teeter are starting to offer organically-produced food and household products. Trader Joe’s is vigilant about presenting a wide variety of fair-trade goods. It’s not just Whole Foods or Wild Oats anymore.

Even so, be cautious. Companies are riding on the eco-revolution boom. It’s the next money-making business since the rise of Silicon Valley. Labels are what they are, misleading and mystifying. Just because a product is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s organic. A product that is organic doesn’t mean it’s certified organic. Confused yet? Well, that’s part of green education. Lucky for you, I’ve typed up an at-a-glance guide.

When you make a decision to buy an earth-friendly product, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1) Is it certified organic? Is there a difference between natural and organic? Cage-free? Farmstead? Or even beyond organic?

Check out this awesome slideshow link. How to Tell It’s Organic Slideshow

2) Where was it made?

Part of sustainable living is buying local produce. With the big-name stores entering the organic market (read: Wal Mart, Target, Safeway, etc), local produce is now the “new organic.” People want to know where their stuff is from. If there is a choice between West Virginia apples at a local farmers market and Washington state organic ones, I’d pick the former, hands down. Just think of how much fossil fuel it takes to bring the organic apples to get to my nearest organic market that is only a mile away. At least, I know more precisely where my apples are from.

3) How is it made?

Look at the ingredients. If you don’t understand half of the ingredients, the product is full of fake synthetic evil stuff. Peanut butter with hydrogenated oils is as outlandish as eating cotton candy when it’s basically high fructose corn syrup in its fluffy state. You can grind peanuts into a creamy state. You don’t have to add any fancy stuff. And yes, I’ll someday post a blog for the best tasting organic PB.

4) How expensive should it be?

Pay attention to the price. Wal-mart organics may be cheaper, but their suppliers are using large-scale production practices that go against the small-business practices. Quoted by GreenOptions.com, “The real question is not how expensive sustainable products are, but how our purchasing habits affect the global population and environment.” In a nutshell, sustainable living may be expensive, however, by doing more damage to our natural habitat, our health, and environment is much more so. I’ll post a blog about ways to save money on green living. Hang on for that.

Last question and this is more of a fundamental question:

5) Should I care?


We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap. ~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a great article..look forward to more!