The term “eco friendly” is overused. Today, it has become a slogan that marketing companies use to sell products. A term initially coined by the scientific community to highlight the negative impacts of our lifestyle on the planet has become a marketing mantra.
Nowadays, most people understand it as something environmentally friendly. While this understanding is not entirely false, it is only a partial understanding of the true meaning. It is a word coined from the words ecology and friend. Ecology includes the environment, but it is not the only part. Ecology includes everything in the world. It includes the planet and everything on it, it includes all the organisms in the world, including humans, animals, and microorganisms, and ecology includes the entire atmosphere. Ecology also takes into account the interactions between the living and the inanimate. It is not limited to energy or carbon footprint, as many might think. It includes the interaction of bacteria with the surrounding environment, the quality of crops in a particular area, the immediate impact of a particular industrial project on the surrounding environment, and the people who will work on the project. Ecology is a much broader term than what is currently understood in the world.
What is Eco friendly?
In nature, everything is in balance. Humans inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, while plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. The situation is reversed at night when humans must sleep and therefore breathe in less oxygen. There are micro-organisms and plants that breathe in more nitrogen than oxygen or carbon dioxide. These micro-organisms and plants are found in the soils and underground regions of the planet where nitrogen or ammonia gases are present in abundance. This is the natural way to maintain the ecological balance. What gives rise to something can be fatal to something else. It is possible that microorganisms or even larger animals survive on the dangerous gases. The scientific community has enough evidence and theories to suggest this.
Being eco friendly does not only mean using less energy than is consumed. It is energy conservation. Without a doubt, it is environmentally friendly, but to be eco friendly, you have to make sure that it does not harm the environment.
We refer to heating and air conditioning systems that are sold worldwide. They are almost always marketed for eco friendly reasons. They are marked with three, four, or five stars indicating their degree of environmental friendliness. If such a system uses less energy than another similar system, it is definitely environmentally friendly. But toxic materials are used for heating or cooling. This definitely affects the ecological balance. The materials used to make these heating and cooling units are not always recycled. Whether the materials come from mining or manufacturing, they have a negative impact on the ecology. These systems can be defined as truly green when the materials used are non-toxic, recycled materials are used whenever possible, and the systems use as little energy as possible. But even then, how eco friendly they are would depend on how we use these systems. If we use these systems all day and all year, we will inevitably leave a large carbon footprint. Since ecology includes how we behave and interact with nature or the environment and planet Earth, systems cannot be truly eco-friendly if we do not also contribute to them.
Eco friendly must become more than a marketing term
There are organizations worldwide that raise money to ride the eco-friendly wave. Much of this money is rarely used for philanthropic activities or eco-friendly initiatives. There are organizations that have based their entire existence on trying to support the cause of eco-friendliness but have not understood the true meaning of the term. Corporations around the world use the term to their advantage. If eco-friendliness was well understood and everyone did the right thing, the ecological state would not have deteriorated in the last twenty years.