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Green Terms- Know What They Mean


The color green has become closely associated with a healthy environment.  Here are some common words used in "green" conversations.

 Qualities or actions that have little or no negative effect on the natural environment and usually have a positive effect on the environment.

Manufactured from used or waste materials that have been processed for further use.

Alternative or Renewable Energy:
 Sources of energy that cannot be used up and usually contribute little to greenhouse gases.  This includes solar, wind, geothermal, biomass (plants) and photovoltaic conversion systems.  This excludes fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum.

 Motor fuels made primarily of recently dead plant material harvested for the purpose.  This is different from fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum, which are derived from long-dead biological material.  Biofuels can reduce carbon in our atmosphere, thus helping counter climate change.

 Greenwashing is a term that is used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.  The term is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices.

Fair Trade:
 An organized social movement that promotes the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods.

 Foods raised without the use of artificial input such as synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, antibiotics, animal byproducts and sewage sludge.  Regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Composting: Biological decomposition of organic materials such as leaves, fruit and vegetable peelings, etc. by bacteria, fungi, and other organisms into a soil-like substance used to enrich garden soils.  This enrichment nourishes the soil and helps increase moisture retention, thus reducing the need for more water.

REC or Green Tag: 
REC is an acronym for Renewable Energy Certificate.  When electricity is generated using renewable resources instead of fossil fuels, REC's (Wind and Solar) can be sold separately from electricity so consumers use more "green" energy.

Carbon Footprint: 
An estimate of how much carbon dioxide an entity (person, family, building) produces and releases into the atmosphere.

Carbon Offsetting:
 Activities that help offset or make up for the production of carbon dioxide.  

Ecological Footprint: 
Is the measurement of the human demand on nature, such as human consumption of natural resources compared to the ability to reproduce or replace some of those resources.

What is Green Power?
Green power is electricity generated from renewable, high-efficiency, or low-pollution energy, such as wind or solar energy.  Your purchase of green power will replace electricity that would otherwise come primarily from burning coal- one of the dirtiest fuels for producing electricity.  Buying green power helps our health, our environment and economy.

  • Helps prevent acid rain by reducing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. 

  • Reduces mercury emissions from power plants, which significantly contribute to fish consumption warnings.

  • Helps keep our air clean by reducing small particulates and several other unhealthy emissions.

  • Significantly reduces carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming. 

  • Improves the economy, especially in rural areas where farmers can lease their land for wind development.

  • Creates additional demand for clean, renewable energy above and beyond any legislative requirement that utilities must meet.

How Does It Work?

Buy small amounts of green power for a small charge per month, or buy as much as 100% of electricity usage.  Every dollar spent by green power customers goes directly toward the purchase of new green power.  Green power does not go directly to your house, because utilities cannot direct specific electricity to a specific place.  However, when you purchase green power, the total amount of green electricity that travels over the entire system is increased.

Source: Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Courtesy of earthfriendlyshoppe.com

Categories: Advice, Ideas & Stories, MomShare,

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