Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Resuscitate A Fading Color

There was a time when the whole "GREEN" concept was viewed by many as a fad. I'm certain that a few still see it that way--that it is "fashionable" to be environmentally conscious. With all due respect to those that still do, living GREEN is fast becoming a "necessity." I suppose the whole fad aspect could have been gleaned from a consumerist vantage point. Take for instance the organic sections in your neighborhood supermarket: from organically-grown veggies to natural household cleaners, there was a time that living GREEN literally meant emptying your wallets of whatever GREEN it contained. Now, affordable earth-friendly products are being churned out by entrepreneurs who value spreading the GREEN message more than making a quick buck. (Meet and listen to a few at Fully Booked on October 23

A lot has changed over the years. I suppose with the species of flora and fauna that have ceased to exist and the many that are labeled "endangered," its not such a far fetched fate for us human beings. Its not a pretty thought, but its the truth. Its getting harder for us to thrive in our environment: we can hardly breathe because of the smog; that there are actually oxygen bars is an indication that something free, natural, and seemingly limitless can become a pricey commodity.

Looking at Pasig River--our grandparents and great-great grandparents swear it was crystal clear in their youth--and you would be hard-pressed to imagine dipping your hand into its waters. I know because I actually dipped mine into it during a field trip in high school. Why I did that I don't know, but I was overcome by such a strong feeling of disgust after. (Needless to say, I bathed my hand in alcohol and nearly scorched it from scrubbing it with soap and hot water.) The smell that emanated from the water didn't even resemble anything smelly I'd ever smelled before. There was a toxic quality to the scent that I couldn't believe could come from something as essentially pure as WATER. I can't even begin to describe it. The fact that people still make a living from it is unimaginable, but TRUE. A good thing is that there is actually an organization called Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig that is working towards the rehabilitation of this main local waterway.

Its the same way I feel about Smokey Mountain. I remember a foreign friend of mine asked me: "So what mountain range does this Smokey Mountain of yours belong to?" I wasn't laughing when I told her that Smokey Mountain isn't really a mountain, but a garbage pile as enormous as one. I'll never forget the horror on her face when I told her that.

These are just sad reminders of how the color GREEN, the color of LIFE, is fading from our city. What more the world as we know it? Its not too late though. There are so many ways we can make a difference; even the simplest of these can go a long way if done everyday.

Fully Booked is launching a campaign for the months of October and November 2010 to help raise awareness. It is called "Echo the Eco." To view the details click here. Part of this campaign includes green book recommendations, which help in the education process. Here are two I really like:

1. My First Garden from the Little Green Books series

This is the story of a little girl and her vegetable garden. She helps her mom grow different kinds of vegetables. Its a nicely illustrated book, and is a simple way of introducing kids to the whole concept of gardening and the bigger picture of saving the planet. I believe it subliminally imparts the message that vegetables are yummy (something I had a really hard time with as a kid). There are other books in this series and they are all made of 100% recycled material. They also tackle a variety of earth-friendly topics in their stories (i.e. endangered species). 

2. Green Goes with Everything: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and a Cleaner Planet by Sloan Barnett

Sloan Barnett is the green editor for San Francisco's KNTV. This is a great book for parents who are serious about integrating environmental practices with home living. Barnett gives a lot of tips on how to make your own household cleaners, and there is a wealth of information on the effect of toxic household cleaning materials on the health of your household. Its a nice resource for keeping your home clean and green. Its a straightforward book that disseminates information that can really be put to use.

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