We could still recycle products like aluminum and office paper. But we could also do our best to follow the other two philosophies of the green movement: reduce and reuse. By reducing the amount of products we consume, we'll create less waste. And by reusing products as much as possible, we'll also reduce the demand for those products. The key to conservation is getting a grip on consumption. Some environmentalists worry that if we focus too hard on the idea of recycling, people will continue to increase consumption. They worry that people will think, "What does it matter if we can just recycle the trash we produce?"
There is no shortage of "green" thought out there trying to convince people of the benefits of living more environmentally friendly lives. For example, one such thought leader we could look to is the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a research-oriented consulting organization that aims to combine green living with prosperous living. Based on an innovative business model called natural capitalism, RMI consults with people and businesses to encourage more efficient and productive means of living and working.
According to RMI, natural capitalism has four basic tenets: make better use of natural resources; practice biomimicry, using nature as a solution to problems; move toward an economy that values utility and quality more highly than aimless consumption; and reinvest in nature so its "capital" is preserved.
Started in 1982 by Amos Lovins and his wife, RMI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Snowmass, Colo. Practicing what they preach, the headquarters' original structure was designed as a bioshelter that also doubled as the founders' home. The building harnesses passive solar energy for heating and electricity and uses vents for cooling during the summer months. Meanwhile, it boasts a greenhouse that contains vegetable and fruit plants. The greenhouse uses heat, light and photosynthesis to generate its power.
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