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The G Word

The G team blog on all things green

Don't dis the eco-newbie


Credit: iStockphoto

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Searching the web the other night, I came across the rather angry comments of a lady who had been living the environment-friendly life for quite some time. She was down with everything from composting and compacting, to sustainable packaging and solar power.

She was not, however, down with new recruits to the eco world.

A green-living woman since the '70s, she proceeded to label those who had taken up the cause in recent years as merely "newbies…jump-on-the-bandwagon types", and decidedly "not what green is or should be".

As one of these recently converted greenies of which she speaks, I rather take offence.

Now it's understandable that when you feel a sense of belonging to a certain culture or way of living, you feel protective of it and what it represents. Indeed, you should feel proud to be a part of it and strive to uphold its values and practices.

And sure, if you were part of it before it was all the cool new thing, perhaps you rightfully feel a smidgen of authority.

But that doesn't mean you should snub your nose at those relative latecomers, such as myself, who don't yet "have everything in the bag", as you say.

I'm not yet hooked up to solar power, it's true. And a couple of years ago I perhaps spent my mornings lingering a little too long in the shower. And yes, once upon a time I would buy pre-cut, packaging-laden, possibly-imported frozen veggies, rather than growing them fresh in my own backyard.

But I've changed. I've seen the green light, and have dived into the environment-friendly community with open arms and an open mind.

Just because I've come a little late to the party, doesn't mean I can't bring something to the table and kick back with everyone else.

Disgruntled Internet Lady, I sympathise, I really do. As a long-time dedicated fan of the horror genre, my skin still sometimes prickles when I talk with "horror newbies", as you would call them, who may not "have everything in the bag" (yet).

They might refer to The Omen as a film with Naomi Watts and not Gregory Peck, for example, or think The House of Wax first starred the vacuous socialite Paris Hilton, not the great Vincent Price.

But you know what? I see occasions such as these as opportunities to educate the newcomers on the rich history and culture of the wonderful new community they have entered into.

And while longstanding members have wisdom to impart, they can learn things from the new guys too (who knew watching Paris Hilton could be so enjoyable?).

So what I'm really trying to say is - hi, I'm relatively new here. I'm trying my hardest to be green to the best of my ability, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job of it.

I know I haven't been doing this as long as some of you, but if I take a misstep on my new green legs, I mean no disrespect - so please don't take offence.

I'd actually welcome your guidance, should you be patient enough to provide it. And one day, when this "newbie" is an old hat at living green, I look forward to taking a different approach to the one put on display by Disgruntled Internet Lady.

Hopefully like the rest of you, I'll remember what it was like to once be new, and welcome in the fresh bunch of sustainability seekers with a warm grin and a warmer cup of Fair Trade tea.

-- Lauren