Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Man Way: Earth Day Easy Eco For Men - Longevity

A rare man-friendly
eco-message design.
April 22 is Earth Day, a day that falls in line with the ideals of men's Wellness as part of being a Great Man, as we see ecology as path. It is a circle that a safe and healthy environment are healthier for men, and human practices of health and wellness keep the environment healthier. It just makes simple sense. The problem is that a large percentage of ecological messages and products are geared more towards women. Ever looked for a 'green' magazine that would appeal to a man? Or a reusable bag that doesn't scream 'I borrowed this from a woman?' Good luck. So how do we be green The Man Way?

Sure we have things like Tesla Motors and the McLaren P1 Hybrid Supercar to fulfill our manly desires and still be eco-friendly (and prove that eco can be better than not), there are ways to find green fashion (and I don't mean the color), and conscious eating is getting more and more accessible (tried grass fed beef yet?). And right here at Well-Met Men you can find articles on being green, eco, whatever you want to call it. But it is still much harder to be a Green Man than a woman.

Thankfully, I have a simple solution for men, one that often gets overlooked in general for being eco-friendly. Whatever you buy, buy it to last.


If one of the main goals of being ecological or green is to reduce production resources as well as waste, it is simple sense that the less we have to make the better we are being to the earth. If you can buy something (a tool, a piece of furniture, a car) that will last not only your but possibly even your child's or some one else's lifetime instead of buying something you will toss in a few years that is possibly the epitome of eco-friendly.

Besides being green for the planet, it's green for you as well. Usually when we buy a throw-away item we do it because it costs less. But over time it can and will often add up to being a more expensive practice. Take shoes. You are looking to buy dress shoes and could go high end like a pair of Allen Edmonds Loafers for $200. You could get a similar pair for $50 or less. With the cheaper shoes after a few months - let's give them a year - you get a new pair of shoes as the soles wear out, the leather (or no leather) wears, they become uncomfortable, etc. Meanwhile the better shoes last years, and even if the soles wear you can get them resoled by the manufacturer or even a local cobbler. Even if you pay $50 for cobbling at $250 total now you could see ten or more years easy out of the shoes. If you bought a cheaper pair every year you would have spent $500 and thrown away or if green donated 10 pairs of shoes. Even if you only did every other year that would be $250 and five shoes discarded. On the plus side, Allen Edmonds is a Wisconsin company so local and American Made.

I could list so many products where we have options to go for durability and longevity over affordability, and in the long run may very be a more affordable option. Make sure your tools can stand up to the beating you will give them; get a watch that will last years and its clasp, band, or even workings won't break in months; get a vehicle that can take the miles you will put on it. That last one is a good example: when shopping for a car check out its potential for long term reliability and owner satisfaction, a good EPA is great as we want to cut down on fuel consumption and emissions, but if you end up getting rid of it in a few years think of all the resources that went into building it, and not just physical ones like the metals and plastics. The energy to create a vehicle is substantial.

Flexibility is another feature to look for.  Can it be used for more than one thing? Take those shoes. A classic pair of AE can go with a suit or jeans and fill the role of two shoes. Can your cordless drill be used for many purposes or is it not powerful enough for some tasks so you end up getting two? That cost savings getting the cheaper one just disappeared. The more flexible something is the more often you will use and less likely you will need another of a similar type.

I am not saying just buy the most expensive item. I am saying look for good craftsmanship and even if a little or a lot more, it behooves you to think twice about seeing if it works in your budget and if it does in the long term you and the planet may be a little more green.

Consuming less is really the ultimate goal of being green. The less we consume the less resources we use, the less energy we use to manufacture, and the less we potentially throw away. It only makes sense then that when we have the opportunity to buy a quality item that will last versus many items over the same lifetime of use we should take it. So yes, look for eco-friendly materials, manufacturing practices, power sources, and so on, but also look for durability and flexibility and thus longevity. You may just find that your wallet will be more green as well.