Shades of Green


I’ve been called many things in my life: flower child, hippie chick, a free spirit, and most recently, the Green Queen. More than an awareness of our effect as a community on the environment in which we live, living green is an underlying need to be independent and self-sustaining. As the age of consumerism lies heavily upon us, I wonder sometimes how it will be for the children of tomorrow. If the average American lifestyle doesn’t change, there will soon be nothing left to consume.

Recently, I have been lucky enough to take part in a green initiative at my office. Our motto is “Little Effort – BIG Result!” Nothing could be truer. I constantly see people flipping cigarette butts and other unwanted trash on the side of the street, throwing their aluminum cans and other recyclables in the garbage, and dumping unwanted old furniture and other large items in any vacant lot they can find.

Usually, their reasoning for doing these things is quite similar: It doesn’t matter. “It’s only one cigarette butt amidst thousands others.”  “One aluminum can wouldn’t bring me a penny, so why bother?” Or (my favorite): “I’m not going to take my stuff to the recycling center when the city will pick my garbage for free right in front of my house!” When did we lose our sense of responsibility as a society?

Most of us, one would hope, wouldn’t walk around our home discarding trash in the hallway. The majority of us drive past a recycling center at some point during our busy weeks. Let’s face it; those unwanted things we discard end up in the landfill when they should go to a homeless shelter or thrift store. So, it all boils down to lifestyle and responsibility.

The liberties we have been afforded have made us jaded and lazy. We litter our highways and tributaries and delegate our responsibility. It’s always someone else’s problem. Where does the buck stop? If everyone did their part, we wouldn’t have a problem. But that doesn’t mean that if everyone isn’t doing their part that we shouldn’t do our own.

In keeping with this spirit, we will soon be organizing some cleanup events around town. We are confident that if we work together, we can make Chattanooga the beautiful place that we love to call home. Every little bit counts—so keep a watch out for the first of many cleanup events that will take place sometime this fall.

So, please take the pledge with me: My home, my city, my state, my country, my continent, my planet—I pledge to do my part to take only what I need, to replenish what I can, to conserve as much as possible, to leave things as good (if not better) than I found them, and to help my neighbor do the same. Won’t you join me?Check out our series of articles on the environment, green initiatives and eco topics in our Shades of Green section at

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