Most of my friends would not consider me a very "green" person. I'm not into the environmentalist movement, and I think much of the "green-ness" that's promoted by companies and even well-meaning organizations is really financially motivated, or related to a whole different type of green. Or greed. I don't understand why most of the time, recycled or green products cost more than non-green products. If it costs more, then frankly, it's not green to me.
However, I am a huge fan of not letting things go to waste, and not buying brand new things when communities can pool their resources and save money, time, and stuff. This, to me, is the real "Going Green." In certain small Jewish communities, there is something called a gemach, which is usually themed (a bridal gemach, a baby gemach, a medical equipment gemach, a home-from-the-hospital gemach etc.) and is a repository of shared or passed along goods. For example, if an elderly relative is coming to visit, do you really need to buy or rent a wheelchair? If your sister is getting married, do you and all your female relatives want to spend money on peach colored silk gowns that you will wear once? What will you do with the perfectly good baby swing that your two-year old just grew out of? Gemachs take donations of goods that are in excellent shape from people who no longer need them and then pass them along to people who do. You don't need to be poor to take things from a gemach, but you do need to be smart. Because it is smart to not constantly have to reinvent the wheel, or buy new stuff, when someone else no longer needs theirs.
Given that not everyone can avail themselves of a gemach, I'd like to introduce you to a national service where the working concept is the same: Freecycle.org. Sign up on their websites and enter your zipcode and join their lists. All the stuff on Freecycle is 100% free. Take it if you need it and can get it. And on the flip side of things, next time you are going through your kitchen and realize that you always hated that blender and have not used it more than once, post it on Freecycle, and give it someone who will love it. The last time I moved, I freecycled tons of stuff and was glad not to have been forced to relocate stuff I didn't want anymore, or throw out perfectly good things.
Forget about your carbon footprint or handprint or pawprint. This, my friends, is truly going green.