Read Green: How green are you?

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Teresa WadeDo you buy local and organic? Turn the water off when brushing your teeth? Compost food and yard waste? How do you know when you’re living green?

What does it mean to be green? Sure, you might recycle, eat organic and use only reusable shopping bags, but does that mean you’re living a green lifestyle? With all the labels and messages floating around in the marketplace and media these days, it can be confusing to determine what “going green” really means — and when to know if you’re doing it.

As our world shifts to meet the reality of stressed resources, living green is becoming the new norm, but it can be challenging to balance living well with living green. The good news is that every green action, no matter how small, moves us forward on the journey to sustainability. There’s no one-practice solution or “easy button,” but each new commitment to integrate green products, services and technologies into our daily lives and businesses deepens our shade of green. Think of it in terms of Beaufort County: One action, multiplied by 150,000 (the rough number of residents in the county), adds up.

Now think forward to the year 2075, when the planet will contain a projected population of more than 9 billion people. Perhaps this clarifies the need to reduce, reuse and recycle.

But with such a massive mandate, it can be tough to determine where to start — or even how to take that first step. A good solution: Just start where you can at home and at work. Pino Gelato, for instance, has committed itself to enacting green practices wherever feasible. To that end the shop switched over to biodegradable napkins, cups, and trash liners; participates in the Green Power program; installed flooring, mats, and ceiling tiles made with recycled content; converted to LED lighting and made the commitment to do more when it can.

However you do it, there’s never been a better time to start thinking green. This April — Earth month — will see the launch of Hilton Head Island’s new residential recycling program. And on April 2, Hilton Head will host its first-ever Earth Day Celebration, an ideal opportunity to not only celebrate the environment that we love, but also to learn how to better care for it. Every green step matters.

Teresa Wade is the principal of Sustainable Solutions, a local consultancy that helps organizations implement sustainable practices. She is the founder of Experience Green, a nonprofit that offers regular consumer workshops on green practices; the March focus is recycling and sustainable waste management, and April’s is green cleaning.  For details, go to www.experiencegreen.org or e-mail teresawade@aol.com.

Earth Day Celebration

The island’s inaugural Earth Day event takes place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 2 at Shelter Cove Community Park. The fest will provide advice on living sustainably and help kick off the residential recycling initiative. Download ticket for free admission, or $5 at the gate. experiencegreen.org


To find out how green you’re living, go to http://www.hiltonheadmonthly.com/around-town/how-green-are-you and fill out the online survey by March 31 to receive your own Green Score. You’ll receive a coupon for a free scoop of Pino Gelato and can enter for a chance to win the America’s Cup “Stars and Stripes Experience in San Diego” four-night package (with airfare for two). Winner will be announced April 2 at Hilton Head Island’s Earth Day Celebration (must be present to win).