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'Green' Most Over-Used Word in 2008

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'Green' Most Over-Used Word in 2008

Bye Bye Word GreenThe school children from Lake Superior State University have issued their 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. "Green" and "going green" received the most nominations.

For those of us who are in the eco-friendly, (whisper) 'Green' business, this news came to be somewhat of a blow.

For some especially, the news came as very bad timing. Co-op America, a well-known staple of information on natural products and services, has officially discarded their old name and is now known as Green America as of January 1, 2009. Ouch. Perhaps it's not too late to dust off the old respected Co-op America name that we still hold dear to our hearts.

Reflecting back on the year in an honest light, the word did spring out from the media and was pounded into the ground over and over until its shiny green newness was more of a brown rot color. Companies that are not even remotely interested in making the earth a better place, were all of a sudden going green, by offering recycled toilet paper in their 5,000 chain store bathrooms. Small efforts touting big promises. A word that was supposed to be synonymous with 'pure, clean and natural', was turned into a trendy movement only to be scorned by frosty college kids in Michigan.

What hurts us the most, is not that we may lose the word 'Green' as a useful and good descriptive word, but that people may be turned off to making the earth a cleaner place.

As one comment clearly captures the bitter sentiment from the Lake Superior website, "If I see one more corporation declare itself 'green,' I'm going to start burning tires in my backyard." - Ed

Ok, we get it. However, this unfortunate attitude (as echoed by many others on LSSU website) is dangerous to us as a growing global population. We here at sincerely hope that it was just the overuse of the word, and not the concept that was a turn-off.

To make the basic concept of the now banished and offensive term 'going green' simple for the school kidlets in Michigan, pretend we are fish in a small fish bowl. Now pretend that the water never gets cleaned, and our fish flakes are running out. We end up as starving fish swimming around in our own poop. Michigan kids - I hope you took notes, as there will be a pop-quiz in about 30 years.


Due to the unfortunate nomination, we may just have to say R.I.P. to the word 'green' or 'going green' for now. On the bright side, we still have eco-friendly and earth-friendly, and to honest, those descriptions state the intention more clearly.

We may also say clean, pure, natural, fair-trade, organic and renewable. Although I may be grasping at straws from my compost-bin, we could always choose a new color to encapsulate the whole 'save the earth' movement. How about the color 'blue' (like the unpolluted sky or ocean)? Or, perhaps, 'white', like pure, unpolluted snow, like they have in Michigan..right?

Work with me, people.




Author - meg at



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