Finally, after many years of polluting our planet, it’s now “cool” to go green. Of course, it hasn’t always been that way. Before Al Gore’s award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” environmentalists were just overzealous tree-huggers making noise and the issues they were raising were swept under the rug. Fortunately, people are now “seeing the light.”

Even some of the big companies are jumping on board. NBC declared this past week Green Week and made a point of bringing awareness to the issue in all of their programs. It has also hit the professional sporting industry and one team, the Philadelphia Eagles, is leading the charge. It has instituted recycling programs, procured post-consumer recycled paper products, purchased renewable energy from wind and other sources, planted trees, and is using organic and pesticide-free materials on its playing and practice fields. The team has become as green as its uniforms.

As a family, we’re also taking steps to go green. But in the words of Kermit, the beloved frog, we’ve found that it’s not always easy being green. Here’s what I mean.

* We’ve changed some of our light bulbs to the more eco-friendly compact fluorescent bulbs, but haven’t made a total switch because we figure disposing of our perfectly good incandescent bulbs would only add to the landfill, so we’re going to make the switch one bulb at a time. I also found that, with my 40-plus aging eyes, I need at least a few of the “old” bulbs in our reading lamps so that I can actually see.

* I just bought a refillable plastic water bottle because I realized I was going through a lot of bottled spring water. Even though we had been recycling these bottles, they’re manufactured using petroleum, therefore adding to the depletion of this valuable resource. However, it turns out that my new plastic water bottle is also a petroleum-based product and recent studies have shown petroleum-based plastics may leach harmful chemicals and additives when used as food or beverage containers. So, basically, I’ve saved the earth but I might develop cancer and not be able to enjoy it. (Well, at least not the top of it.)

* We just replaced our toxic cleaning products with environmentally-friendly products, but now I’m wondering how I should dispose of the toxic products. Do I flush them down the toilet or sink, polluting my septic tank and perhaps the ground around it? Or, do I send them straight to the dump so they can leach poison into the ground there? Hmmmm. Another tough call.

I think it would help if manufacturers of green products made it a little easier for people to go green as well. For instance:

* Hybrid vehicles — I think the development of hybrid vehicles is great. However, they generally cost more than traditional vehicles and this wipes out any potential savings at the pump. For those who are truly committed to the environment, this fact will not deter them, but for those of us on a budget, coming up with that extra cash is a little harder to swallow. If these vehicles were priced the same as gas-powered vehicles, it would be a no-brainer!

* More efficient energy — Recently I was watching “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and they were building a green home that used solar panels and wind energy. They said that the energy was being stored, and once the energy demands of the home were met the remaining energy would go back out to “the grid” and supply other homes with power. So you could eliminate your utility bill, eliminate the use of oil and gas and help your neighbors do the same. I thought why aren’t all homes being built this way? The reason? Cost!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m going to continue to make an effort to help our environment. In fact, I’m already driving my husband crazy with all of these changes. I think we should all do our part. But here’s my plea to those manufacturers of green products: Instead of making them just for the rich and famous, make them something we can all afford because it’s just not easy being green!

Kathryn Mahoney is a local humor columnist and author of “Cracked at Birth: One Madcap Mom’s Thoughts on Motherhood, Marriage & Burnt Meatloaf.” To contact her or read more of her work, please visit