What does It Mean to "Go Green"?

wiseGEEK Writer

To go green can refer to many different ways you can choose more environmentally friendly behaviors over those that are less environmentally friendly. Going green can mean baby steps, where you gradually replace a few things you might do a regular basis, with other things you can do that won’t cause such debt to the environment. Sometimes an individual or companies and organizations make a choice to go green in very large ways, by replacing a number of systems or behaviors with ones that will either be helpful, or at least not harmful, to the planet.

Switching to energy efficient CFL lights can help someone go green.
Switching to energy efficient CFL lights can help someone go green.

It’s fairly easy to attempt to go green on a small scale. In your own household there are plenty of ways. Replacing basic incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones can be a great place to start because they save energy. Recycling cans, paper, and bottles is fairly easy too. Planting drought resistant plants or using heat and air conditioning less will also make a big difference. Even observing "spare the air days" is a good place to start.

Going green can be as simple as using eco-friendly cleaning products.
Going green can be as simple as using eco-friendly cleaning products.

For some people, going green doesn’t stop there. You can save on gas by carpooling, walking or biking to work, or investing in hybrid, alternative fuel, or electric vehicles. When people really get into the commitment to go green, they can start reconstructing their homes. For instance they might build more airtight structures made up of “green” materials, and rely on power generated by geothermal sources or the sun’s light.

Carpooling is a way to "go green."
Carpooling is a way to "go green."

New companies may be inspired to create completely green environments in new buildings. This was the case with the San Francisco California Academy of Sciences, which reopened in Fall 2008. In order to go green to the greatest extent, builders recycled about 90% of the previous building, creating a new structure with a living roof on the top to provide better insulation. They also innovated heating, cooling and light systems to use the least amount of electricity. Some power is supplied by solar panels, and materials used in building included denim instead of fiberglass for insulation.

Since we don’t all have the money to invest in completely remodeling our homes or businesses, we may need to make due with what we have and small go green choices. You can go slightly green by making sure to turn off most power equipment when you leave the home, by not leaving the water running when you’re brushing your teeth, and by purchasing cleaning products that are biodegradable (and often safer to use). Another way to support green living is by purchasing food products locally, especially those that are organic and promote sustainable farming and animal husbandry methods. In all there are plenty of simple choices and changes we can make that may result in a healthier world. The sum total of these choices when most people decide to go green can have an overwhelmingly positive affect on the planet.

People who "go green" likely support or use solar power.
People who "go green" likely support or use solar power.

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Discussion Comments


I just partnered with a great company that focuses on living green and being healthy while you are able to earn an income up to six figures.


A PhD in Quantum Physics and he believes global warming and climate change is a "bunch of bogus"? Not just bogus but a bunch of bogus? Get out of your lab and look around. Global warming is real. Sad, just sad.


Global warming and climate change is a bunch of bogus. I am a PhD. in Quantum Physics and have done research on this subject. It is purely a marketing scheme to suck easily swayed people like you to buy things with a "Green" label. You people have been deceived.


i love going green. i don't care what people say. i will go hug a tree. i did everything to go green and with global warming, going green is not a bad idea.


I stumbled onto this site while doing research for an article about defining "Going Green." I am heading up a new section for our organization called "Sustainability and Global Climate Change" and we will be covering all sorts of topics on this subject. Your article was exactly what I was looking for. In fact, I used a lot of it (changed it up, of course) and got rave reviews. I am also going to refer our members to your site as another tool to learn about going green. Keep up the great work and Go Green!

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