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Thirty years ago people who advocated living a lifestyle of eating natural and organic foods, taking vitamins and herbal supplements, dressing in natural fibers, riding bikes or smaller vehicles to travel with, using alternatives to pesticides and other chemical based products, using natural energy sources, and just plain living with nature and respecting the environment, were seen as being on the fringe, today they are seen as visionaries, pioneers, and just plain ahead of the pack.
Today no matter your background or circumstance you cannot but hear a message or two of the need for going 'Green', natural, and organic. It is not that the 'fringe' groups have gotten larger and therefore louder or more effective in spreading their message, though they have, it's that the message has been, and is being, embraced by big government and big business, the two largest forces that shape this country. We are hearing from the federal government of the need for changing direction towards natural and renewable energy sources - solar, hydro, and wind; of using more natural methods and less chemicals in growing and preserving foods, of greater reliance on public transportation and less on personal automobiles. To this end federal government has created it own program called the 'BioPreferred Program' aimed at "environmental management systems, pollution prevention, recycling, green product purchasing, alternative fuels, sustainable building and electronics stewardship". The programs also set a mandate for the purchase of environmentally friendly products to be purchased by the federal government.
The other big player, big business, after ignoring and or trying to squash what it considered to be its competitor (read enemy) could no longer resist the fact that the general public were taking 'going green', natural and organic in their own hands and having a modicum of success at doing so. The dollars and since could not continue to be ignored. For example the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Insurance Industry worked hand-in-hand to destroy the natural supplements industry and holistic medical movement even going so far as to seek legislation detrimental to both; on the one hand to suggest that herbal supplements had no medicinal value and therefore could not make any claims as such, in effect giving all the power to the make such claims to the Pharmaceutical companies; this was followed by a campaign to discredit and destroy holistic doctors and to create an environment where only allopathic (Western-centered) doctors, beholden to the Pharmaceutical industry and Insurance Industry prescribed dictates were in operation.
However, and in spite of many casualties, the Herbal Supplements industry and the Holistic Practitioners movement not only managed to survive but to grow; so to did their support and the dollars they generated. Their message was getting across as more and more people began to shift in the direction of going natural and organic. Both industries, have now taken the approach that if you can't beat them "join them", and then beat them by being the largest players in the game. But that's another story. However, we now hear both the Pharmaceutical companies and the Insurance companies marketing and promoting natural products, of course still only those that they manufacture and control. However their interest is shifting in the 'going green' direction as they chase the almighty dollar.
I mention the foregoing to point our that our society is shifting in the 'going green', natural and organic direction yet it can be, and is, for many confusing and daunting in regards to what one should do; in other words, one might ask how does one 'go green', natural and organic? Where are the products and services that allow that to happen and how, and which products do we use, and which do we use first, and how do we know we are doing the right thing? Going Green, Natural and Organic is more than a notion for many. Of course the initial question always is 'where do you start'? And that starting point is different for many depending upon knowledge, circumstance and support.
Being married to a Holistic Doctor I have had the privilege of hearing of many instances where individuals knew this was the direction to go in yet have made many mistakes in the process by engaging in excesses in the wrong direction. Then there are the situations of affordability - natural and organic food products are not necessarily inexpensive, to the contrary they tend to be more expensive then the 'conventional' brands, which of course have slowed many from choosing or staying on the natural path. And, there is the issue of accessibility. In the Baltimore area, for example, grocery stores that stock natural and organic products tend to locate in more affluent sections of the city, which is by no means where the majority of the people are. So if you happen to be from a less affluent area accessibility to 'green', natural and organic products may be a challenge. Then there is the matter of health and wellbeing which leads to questions regarding whether or not one needs to take vitamins, minerals and supplements and if so which ones. Of course, we all hear the mantra of doing exercises, which also raises its own set of questions. All in all, one wonders if a Holistic Lifestyle Consultant would not be the answer to assist us in 'going green', natural and organic?
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