Going green is a smart thing to do

A website developed by University of Georgia faculty members focuses on multiple ways to “go green.” The website, www.ugagreenway.com was unveiled in conjunction with Earth Day.

A team led by Pamela Turner, assistant professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and a housing specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension, developed “UGA GreenWay” to reach Georgians who may not be familiar with the resources offered by Extension.

“A population we’re missing are those who tend to use social media to garner information,” Turner said. “We want to be a trusted source for information on a variety of issues connected with the environment.”

For example, Turner has a wealth of information on “Greenwashing,” a play on the term “whitewashing,” but in this instance referring to false advertising claims by some companies regarding environmentally responsible products. The page provides information on eco-labels, third-party certifications, consumer reviews, and how to spot misleading labels.

While the benefits of “reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose” are prominent on the site, Turner also emphasizes the importance of repairs as a way of being environmentally friendly.

“Dealing with moisture issues in order to eliminate mold, caulking doors and windows in order to lower heating costs, and maintaining the exterior of your home are all things that help us conserve our resources as well as saving money,” she said.

Saving “green,” as in money is also a part of the new website. Joan Koonce, FACS associate professor and a finance specialist with Cooperative Extension, has provided information on how consumers can save money by going green, as well as information on environmentally responsible investing.

Ensuring that young people learn ways to protect the environment has been a focus of Sharon Gibson, a FACS Cooperative Extension multicultural specialist, “There are a multitude of ways to encourage children and teens to go green,” Gibson said. “Whether it’s helping the family with recycling and composting or encouraging their school to establish a school garden, kids can play a significant role in helping our environment.”

The Cooperative Extension team is focused on ensuring that links to UGA Greenway are both accurate and politically neutral.

“We want people to email us with both questions and tips,” Gibson said, “But we’re checking all of those tips and all of the suggestions for links to ensure that the information is accurate.”

Just for fun, the website also includes a green quiz. By answering a range of questions from whether you compost, carry your own shopping bags to the store or shorten your showers, you might be “basically brown,” meaning your interest in being environmentally friendly is on the low side, to being a “green sprout” or, if you’re really focused on the environment, being “true green.”