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How Green Are You?

As an experiment, I asked a large group of my friends (thank you, Facebook!) what they do to reduce their carbon footprint. And, not surprisingly, I got a lot of responses--I assume, because people are proud of their green efforts.

"We recycle as much as possible, use reusable grocery bags, try to use more products that are truly 'green,'" one friend commented. Several others remarked that they use rechargeable batteries, buy cloth diapers and breastfeed their babies, compost a majority of their garbage, and drive hybrid cars. One friend goes as far as reducing her family's meat consumption, "given that factory farming is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gas production in the U.S.," she explained, adding that they also "eat and shop for more eco-friendly food--locally grown, sustainably farmed and organic."

However, many of those same people said things like, "We'd probably recycle more stuff more frequently if it were easier to do," "We don't recycle. I know we should, but until last year, there was nowhere in town to recycle," "I confess to throwing out bottles with our garbage because there is no easy way to recycle them here. So, we're far from perfect on this issue," and "We can do better, but that's what we are doing right now!"

In this month's cover story, InsideCounsel takes a look at some of the big environmental issues companies are facing today and what those issues mean to legal departments. These are problems companies confront every day--from regulatory concerns to litigation and all the way back to crisis management. The thorough report also looks at the legal department's role in best practices companies may implement to foster a greener culture.

In this column, however, I challenge you to take a look at your own carbon footprint. Are you taking the appropriate steps in your personal and professional life to be as environmentally conscious as you possibly can, or are you like my friends who find themselves saying, "I would do better if it were easier"? I fall into the latter category, but I have resolved to do better. For me, initially, that means baby steps: making sure all the light bulbs in my house are compact fluorescents, emptying the recycling when it's full rather than simply throwing recyclables in the garbage and always setting the program on the thermostat so I'm not overheating or overcooling the house when no one's home.

Please join me in this challenge, and let's enjoy a healthier world.


Cathleen Flahardy

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