Text size

Reduce, recycle and renew - the three key concepts of the Green Revolution illustrate how eco-chic and ethics chic have turned once repellent activities into fashionable models for imitation and taught us to make the most of them.

Before the green era, making do with less was experienced, if at all, from lack of choice. Nobody thought that having little or lacking something was anything to be proud of or to show off. That's changed. Expressions that used to sound strange have become part of the language; we have learned to use the phrase, with perfect naturalness, "feng shui," and to say that owning too distresses not only the planet Earth and garbage collectors, but also our delicate souls. The idea there is no need to accumulate things, and that such a habit is undesirable, is the antithesis of everything we were taught.

It is hard to overstate the change the Green Revolution has wrought in our attitude toward recycling. In the days before we heard of ecological and ethical goals, this was something done by tightwads, and even they were embarrassed to admit it. The expression "to recycle" was reserved for those who received a box of candy for Passover and saved it to give away on Rosh Hashanah.

The first time I heard this expression in a positive context my heart skipped a beat. I entered a new restaurant, whose chef told me proudly that all the lovely furniture was made of recycled materials: the shelves from cardboard boxes, the lamp shades from egg cartons, the tables from plastic bags. I was raised with the idea that there is nothing more repulsive than recycled food, suggesting the stale, the outdated, moldy, unreliable. So someone proudly uttering the word in a new restaurant sounded as good as flatulence at a funeral. That chef simply stood and glowed in the middle of her stylized restaurant and explained, without embarrassment, how recycling is making her place correct, precise, calming, up-to-date and tasty, too.

Everything true of recycling is also true of renewal. There's nothing easier than buying something new. It's the most convenient, simplest and most habitual thing to do. But how far more exciting, satisfying and creative - that is the new mantra - to turn something old into something new.

The Green Revolution, after all, did not invent reducing, renewal or recycling; it did raise them from a gray, stagnant reality to another level of conceptualization, so we, at least those of us who wish to, manage to enjoy them and to appreciate their benefits.

Here are links to three Web sites that are trying, quite successfully, to enhance these three key words:


This is the site of a hotel - there are many like it around the world - that caters to the tastes of eco-tourism, which emphasizes local attractions, nature hikes and a focus on the animal world. It also attempts to take responsibility for the environment and to minimize any damage caused by tourism. A significant factor in ecological tourism is the recycling of water and energy.


That is a link to an article about the efforts of the manufacturer of Toyota cars to give itself a green image. According to the article, Toyota contributes to environmental quality and (as proof) has taken upon itself to rehabilitate and renew California. It is planting trees and flowers and repairing roads.


This is a link to Rachel Sandrovsky's fashion initiative. She says of herself that she has a huge appetite for fashion, grooming and design. She worked in the United States as a designer, stylist and buyer for chain stores and such famous names as Bloomingdale's, Sax Fifth Avenue and Barney's. Her initiative is actually the sale of her private wardrobe of about 1,000 items by top designers and authentic vintage items (Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Seven jeans, G-Star, Armani and Versace). Some of the clothes have never been worn. The prices are ridiculously low (jeans and pants for NIS 150-NIS 200; shirts and dresses, NIS 50-NIS 250; shoes and boots, NIS 100-NIS 300; and accessories, NIS 20-NIS 200). The money she collects - and this is the important part - goes to benefit others through Etgarim (an association for the disabled in which she is active); scholarships to Sapir College in Sderot; and to help women and children at risk. All this is happening in Tel Aviv, in the Basel complex.