According to Verdant, printed on recycled paper and packaged in biodegradable plastic, it couldn't hurt. So why did I choose the glam field of journalism, where the benefits consist of the occasional byline and bringing my own pens to work? I should have gone for company board of director, a job where participants vote themselves pay hikes more often than Congress. And unless you carefully read the yearly report, best suited for training a puppy, no one will ever know.
Now, I'm all for being green--and I like many aspects of Verdant, neatly subtitled: Smarter Choices for Better Living. The layout is sleekly artistic, and the articles are eclectic and informative. Plus, who'd reject "smarter" or "better"? After all, I recycle. I support preserving the wilderness, and if I could afford organic vegetables, I'd eat them. And yes, I was a member of the Sierra Club--in grad school. But in those lazy, hazy, halcyon days, Ralph Nader, not Sting, was the poster boy for clean-up. Today, as Verdant makes clear, it's a whole new world.
So it won't surprise you that some celebs are big champions of the green movement. Though flying to an environmental rally in your private jet, then zipping around town in an SUV may make your greener cohorts turn red. I won't mention names--but I have yet to see Bono in coach class.
Which is why you've got to admire the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, now known as the Diva of Dirt. She organized the New York Restoration Project (www.nyrp.org) and reclaimed 400 acres of parkland along the banks of the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. And she drives a Prius.
Midler, like Verdant, is committed to changing our habits. The word, which means "lush and green," underscores the benefits of incorporating green concepts into your life. The editor's page is big on personal empowerment; meaning, the mag is part how-to, part lifestyle. The premiere issue has tips on home furnishings, car shopping and an architect known as a land whisperer. The houses are gorgeous, but the only sound I heard was "ka-ching."
Still, the articles are worthwhile. The piece on the looming water crisis--our next war may be over water--was scary but interesting. So was "Green Positioning," which notes that claims of "natural," "eco-friendly," "non-toxic" and "free range" can be confusing and deceptive. The writer takes British Petroleum, Starbucks and Virgin Atlantic to task. Even when companies do good, the back-end isn't always pretty.
The "Idea File" has a list of eco-friendly products from renewable and pure materials--some expensive, some cheap, all terrific. The article on gardens profiled Japanese Zen designs. I just read, sighed wistfully and turned the page.
I did, however, pause at the "best of breed" companies, especially the part about delivering big returns. It would be nice to find gold in green, a color wheel I can understand and appreciate. At present, my broker runs for his life whenever I get my monthly statement. But ever eco-mindful, I only threaten him with wood that comes from a sustainable forest.
The goal of Verdant is to make an environmentally conscious life a good one. But for many legitimate reasons, it also means mucho dineros. Take the travel section. Trips to outdoor private pools in Bali, Indonesia, or the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort don't come from licking green stamps. Similarly, the "Collectibles" section features classic Chinese robes, which, given their age and beauty, are expected to jump from $25,000 to $100,000. I'm not sure what the green connection is, except that you have to have plenty to own one.
All of which makes Verdant the Architectural Digest meets Travel & Leisure for the e-set. Green is in. So why do I feel blue?