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Green

August 27, 2007

There has been much talk recently of the green movement, environmentalism, etc. If you have had your ear to the ground, this talk has been going on for a long, long while, but until recently was not a part of the mainstream.
The latest issue of American Photo deals with several “green” issues, photographers, images, etc.

What I’m finding hard to wrap my head around is, firstly, what does it really mean to be green, and what does it mean to be an environmentalist. Who can call themselves an environmentalist? Why I ask is that I find it very difficult to equate photography with being green. I think it takes a real stretch to be a photographer and an environmentalist, just based on what it takes to do our jobs.

I drive a hybrid, am builing plans to change my landscaping to a near zero water level, as well as adding solar to my house to try and get myself off the grid. I no longer buy bottled water, instead use a high-tech water filter which will allow me to safely use tap. I buy organic food, try to buy local, and in as many ways possible I try to leave as little footprint as possible.

But in reality, I’m not sure this means much. Just my e-waste alone, use of all the latest technology, and what it takes to design, market, release, sell, discontinue and destroy products probably offsets any positive effect I am making. In the darkroom I waste water, paper and produce toxic chemicals. Much of what I buy for my profession is made to be obsolete, impossible to upgrade so that I must, almost always, buy the lastest version, furthering the cycle of consumerism and waste.
And then there is the travel.

This is not to say I’m going to stop, on the contrary, I am planning more and more things, but I think we have to be realistic, and realize the real change will occur when either we as a collective make these decisions, or the planet makes them for us.

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