"It's easy being green" is the tagline of one environmental publication, one of the zillions drowning us in sustainability advice. In fact, it really isn't so easy to sort through all the noise.

Share story

We dutifully converted to fluorescent bulbs, but they kept shorting out. At $6.50 a bulb — ouch. Then we found out about their mercury content and had the guilties that we had been tossing them into the trash. Finally figured out the dimmers were the problem and fixed that, only to have the teen-age son mention over dinner that he’d joined a high-school Facebook group called “Save the incandescent bulb!” (“Fluorescents are just dismal and depressing; global warming, please take me now.”) The last blow: Opened the newspaper to read of research saying fluorescents may contribute to higher breast-cancer rates because they suppress melatonin. Quote from researcher: “This may be a disaster in another 20 years.”

Global warming, please take me now, indeed.

“It’s easy being green” is the tagline of one environmental publication, one of the zillions of new magazines, Web sites, books and videos that are drowning us these days in sustainability advice. In fact, it really isn’t so easy to sort through all the noise.

But we live in Puget Sound, which gives us a special obligation to care, even if it often seems like just one more chore to fit into already-hard-to-choreograph lives.

What we hope to contribute with Footprint is not necessarily definitive answers, but thoughtful, lively stories that cut through the hype and confusion as we explore the best paths toward living both lightly and fully in this beautiful place.

It doesn’t mean hair shirts for all (not even organic ones). As our garden writer Valerie Easton writes in her story today, going with nature rather than against it is easier, as well as healthier, in the long run. In the same way, when we beg off the rat race of excess consumption, dump the better-living-by-chemistry foods and pesticides and know we’re not short-circuiting our kids and grandkids’ futures, it will feel a whole lot better than putting 20 SUVs in the mega-garage.

We hope to make Footprint a conversation rather than a one-way communication. So please join in. Send your ideas and feedback to: footprint@seattletimes.com

— The editors