By Katlyn Manka
Planet Forward Intern/Marymount University
If you are trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s likely that you often hear suggestions on how to ‘go green.’ Unfortunately, like any bit of information, it’s tough to separate fact from fiction. We debunk some of the more popular myths about sustainability.
Myth: If an electronic item is turned off, it isn’t using power.
Fact: Unfortunately, energy vampirism is still a rampant issue as more electrical appliances creep into the household every day. Unplug any device that you aren’t currently using or invest in power strips to stop the energy suck with the flip of a switch.
Myth: Disinfectants/household cleaners can’t be natural and effective.
Fact: Good news, you don’t have to use harsh chemicals to clean your house. Instead, use gentle alternatives like vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. If natural cleaners don’t get the job done for you; wholeliving.com has some tips for getting the most out of your cleaning solutions.
A Nissan Leaf electric car, left, and a Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid charge in Crosswinds, S.C., in 2011. (TheDigitel Myrtle Beach/Creative Commons)
Myth: Hybrids and electric cars are the most environmentally friendly.
Fact: This is not necessarily true. It is true that electricity as an energy source is often more sustainable than gas, but only if the electricity is generated in a clean way. Many areas of the U.S. still burn coal to generate power.
A pine tree seedling, freshly planted. (U.S. Forestry Service Region 5/Flickr)
Myth: Planting trees will slow or prevent global warming.
Fact: Because plants use carbon dioxide as a resource and produce oxygen as waste, many people believe that planting trees can fix global warming. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Worse, in the cooler parts of the world, planting trees can actually cause a temperature increase.
A truck in Logan Square in Chicago shows of some local produce. (Eric Bartholomew/Flickr)
Myth: Buying organic is always better.
Fact: Sometimes the greener choice is not organic. The most sustainable food is that which has the smallest carbon footprint so buy something organic that has traveled thousands of miles is much worse for the environment than buying local food.
(Image at top by Planet Forward Staff.)