What exactly is green about green design? It’s a very complex term. In fact, it’s so complex that I’d prefer “Conscious, Healthy, Thoughtful, Mindful, Authentic, Integrity Driven Environmentally Responsible Design” … but what a mouthful!
When I create a room or make a house a home for a client, I always do my homework to ensure that I’m using products that have enduring value and stand up to as many of my holistic values as possible: natural, local, handmade, nontoxic, sustainable, fair trade, energy efficient, …. The green word list goes on an on — so it’s getting harder for people to decipher who and what is genuine.
So where do you begin?
Ask these 5 questions before buying décor, furnishings or fashions — or any product sold as “green”
- What are the products made of? Where and how were the materials procured?
- If made of wood, was it responsibly (and legally) harvested?
- How are the materials processed into finished goods?
- What is the environmental impact of making and using this product?
- What will happen to the product after it’s served its purpose?
By taking simple steps, we begin to make more and more healthy choices. These choices open our minds — and hearts — to far-reaching possibilities.
It’s a good thing to go green — just try and keep it authentic. So many companies large and small are ‘green’ (or greenwashed) … and that can make our choices even harder. Yet pre-eco-buzz, there were companies like Gaiam and my own company, Vital Design, that had walked the walk for a long time.
I started my firm in 1997, when not many people were interested in far-reaching environmental concepts. I struggled for years to explain how all of our collective lifestyle choices connect with the greater whole — both people and the planet. I believed then (and still believe) in always digging a little deeper. A product should be good for a person’s well-being and their home environment, great and small — so the word “green” really just isn’t big enough!