Finding Truly Green Products: Tip Three

This post is part of an ongoing collection of posts to help people identify legitimately “green” products.  If you haven’t read the first post, take a moment and begin with the preceding post.

Respect The Laws of Nature: Can any concept be more simple that?  If we want to be good to the earth, we need to respect the earth for what it is and purchase products that work with nature, not against it.  Products that claim to defy nature can only do so by defiling nature.   Unfortunately, people in our era often seek “perfection” in our products.  As  is my experience, they ask for the perfect counter-top – something that doesn’t stain or scratch, something that can withstand physical abuse and extreme heat, while remaining pretty.   But what is perfection.  Though a literal definition exists for the word, it becomes purely subjective when placed in context.  Wood is perfect at being wood, after all.  Stone is perfect at being stone.  Each has inherent qualities, whether they are subjectively deemed to be positive or negative.  Wood can stain, but it doesn’t break many dishes.  Granite can withstand high heat loads, but without a sealer will quickly stain.  Soapstone is impermeable, but due to its softness can develop scratches.  These aren’t imperfections,  these are the laws of nature.  If you don’t want granite to stain you have to seal it with a highly toxic, chemical based sealer.  That sealer must help the granite defy nature.

Ultimately, all this comes down to is a little effort.  The “perfection” people often seek in materials is really an unwillingness to care for materials.  The price future generations pay for our lack of effort isn’t worth it.  Don’t put hot, fresh out-of-the oven crockery on a counter-top.  Oil your woods with natural oils so that a wine spill won’t stain it.  Work with nature and buy materials that work with nature.  One of the best features about wood, whether it be used for flooring, counter-tops, windows or doors is that the materials can be reworked and renewed, especially when you let it be wood.  A laminate counter-top can never be given a new life again.

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