Get Inspired - View the whole gallery
We have created sections highlighting the entry videos, art, books, essays and media that has been created for the contest over the years. Simply SELECT A SECTION from the top DROP DOWN MENU under the CREATIVE ENTRIES TAB. Click on the Back to Top Button below to get there quickly.
Jeffery & Samantha's Essay 2011

Jeff and Samantha have been together for over 9 years. This is our story:

We met when we were 17. Jeff is from Arundel, Maine and Samantha is from Buxton, Maine. We “officially” became an “us” on January 3, 2002. We went to different high schools (Thornton Academy and Bonny Eagle respectively), and went on to different colleges (Wentworth Institute of Technology and Quinnipiac University). We both decided to further our education. Samantha went to law school at Southern New England School of Law and Jeff is currently getting his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. On January 3, 2009, Jeff proposed on Mother’s beach in Kennebunkport, Maine. Currently, we are living in Worcester, Massachusetts.

We work on being green in many ways. Perhaps our most considerable impact is achieved through taking a strong look at how we live and taking into consideration what we truly need and use. Reducing consumption provides more significant results than simply reusing or recycling, which we also do. We like to live a life style that shows others that reducing the natural resources one consumes is not difficult and in fact can improve ones quality of life.

Over the last few decades, home sizes have increased year after year, yet family sizes have decreased. These days, people feel the need to build homes with unnecessary extra space, where as during previous generations homes were built to suit a family’s needs and size. We currently reside in a small, one bedroom apartment that helps reduce our environmental impact in many ways. The reduced square footage is easier to heat, which significantly reduces the fuel consumption to warm the space. The small rooms and the fact that there are only a few of them also reduce the lighting costs. The living spaces are all shared, so a couple lights are effective at illuminating all spaces. Also, the small living space allows us to take a look at the physical possessions we accumulate. With a large home, it is very easy to fill it with physical items, many of which, will only be used or appreciated a few times and left to collect dust. Each one of these items has a history, which requires some amount of energy and natural resources to manufacture and ship it to the end user. By having a small amount of space to keep possessions, it allows us to focus on a select number of items that are really important and useful to us. The limited number of distractions inside allows us to spend more time appreciating the world outside and all nature has to offer.

Our car is another way we like to demonstrate how having less does not mean one has to sacrifice. About a year ago we purchased a Smart Car. It is about half the size of a conventional car, but provides all of the services one typically needs. The smaller car requires less raw materials to manufacture, but still meets all of our daily needs. Also, we have reduced waste by utilizing reusable bags when grocery shopping and not purchasing bottles of water. We each have Sigg aluminum water bottles, which we use daily.

Through living a life style of reduced consumption we are able to demonstrate to others that large sacrifices don’t have to be made in order to do great things for the planet. Being green does not have to be overwhelming. We have made small changes to our daily lives and will continue to find green ways to live. We have made a commitment to each other and we have made a commitment to reduce waste.


You would be pressed to find someone that would call us hard core environmentalists. But just as you don’t need to be a marriage counselor to get married, you don’t need to be a farmer to be Green. If a relationship does not nourish both partners and allow each of them to grow in their own way, it will wither away. A marriage lasts a life time and it must rejuvenate, and replenish both love and respect on a daily basis.

We believe that this same idea must continue to exist in our relationship with the planet. We can not exploit natural resources and expect them to continue providing for us generation after generation. Our approach to life is mindful consumption, resourcefulness, and a simple appreciation for the natural beauty all around us.

Having a connection to our food is important. Cooking with fresh seasonal and local ingredients allows you to connect with and support your community. Eating regular meals at home places importance on the family unit, health is increased and you save money. Helping out on a friend’s farm in exchange for beef, chicken and maple syrup may not save the world but it allows us to be part of the process. Through this we gain an appreciation for where our food comes from and what goes into making it (and perhaps more importantly what does not go in!). We reuse containers, conserve water, shop at the Farmer’s Market and buy wind power not so we can call ourselves Green but because it is what we believe in and it is who we are. Similarly we listen to each other and treat each other with respect. We support one another in times of trouble and work through struggles together, not because we are engaged but because we love each other.
Jonathan & Joelle's Essay 2009
Becoming the Change We Want To See

Joelle and I met at the Portsmouth Farmer's Market. Joelle is a silversmith & natural foods chef. I own White Heron Tea, a local Organic & Fair Trade tea company. We spent two years as market vendors before dating.

We quickly fell in love and found that we share many common values and interests. We are close to family, love fresh air, exercise, gardening and cooking healthy food. We make time for running, surfing, walks and foraging for wild edibles.
(Berries and mushrooms....yum!)

Our dream of married life together is based on mutual love, inspiration and a commitment to making a better world. We cherish simplicity and the ability to enjoy life without the need for “bigger, better, faster” material goods.

We believe that every dollar spent is a vote for a world that is green and sustainable or fast-paced and generic. We buy goods that are organic, locally grown/produced and support local businesses. We grow much of our food and enjoy making bread, yogurt, cheese and maple syrup.

For us, green living boils down to focusing on what is most important and staying educated in a rapidly changing world. Green living is how we share our love with the world around us.

James & Gina's Essay 2009

Our commitment and compromises extend beyond us as a couple, as we each have a daughter from previous relationships. Even at the young ages of 3 and 4 years, our girls have unexpectedly influenced us to implement green practices. It isn’t our mission to “save the earth,” but rather to instill our children with meaningful values. We do our best to parent mindfully, emphasizing the important things in life such as compassion and simplicity. Through this, we have found our shade of “green.”

This holiday season we homemade our gifts in an effort to highlight the importance of giving. We used found materials, created practical gifts, minimized waste, and gave “green” gifts like reusable coffee mugs. We even gave reusable shopping bags.
Simple as it may be, it holds so much value. Our family has continued to bond over this experience, spending quality time and finding new ways to incorporate being green into our lives. Best of all, we have found that our experience has inspired our families and friends to consider their ways of living.

We are an ordinary mother/teacher/nanny, father/paramedic/firefighter, and daughter/sister/friend. What makes us extraordinary is our commitment to each other, to others, and to the earth.
Lisa and Kevin's Essay 2010

America the Green The most important part of being green is knowledge. It is realizing when changes are necessary and caring enough to make them in our lives. It involves an awareness of the interconnectedness of everything on our planet understanding that both resources and pollutants are continually cycled. Because of this, every little change that a person makes is important, whether it is something as minor as eating locally caught haddock instead of tilapia or burning biodiesel instead of gasoline. Several years ago we became aware of just how many miles our food was traveling and how disconnected we were from its source.

Since then we have worked hard to reduce our food-miles by growing as much as we can ourselves and giving up produce like bananas. We have begun to realize what our priorities are and what we can live without. Being green also means taking recycling to a new level. When a restaurant is disposing of its used fryer oil, we collect it, filter it, and use it to run our vehicle. We save our vegetable scraps and use them to make broth; the leftovers go into our compost bin and become soil that enriches our organic garden for next year's crop.

In this cycle, everything is reused. We have made many positive changes over the years, but there is always more we can do. Until we discovered Clay Hill Farm we were concerned about the wastefulness of the wedding industry. We now know that a green wedding is possible and look forward to celebrating the beginning of the rest of our life together.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to define our personal vision of green. Please enjoy sharing in our exploration of how America is becoming green.
Dan and Annika's Essay 2010

Under an Apple Tree
A Green Wedding Essay

We met six summers ago beneath a yet-to-fruit apple tree, new instructors at a nature camp. As naturalists, artists, musicians, and now parents, our paths have since intertwined like fibrous cordage.

As community-minded environmental educators, we teach our students to see Earth anew –as animals relating to their environment. Through deep naturalist experiences, they cease being voyeurs and begin absorbing nature holistically. With all senses engaged, their spirits expand and rejuvenate. Working professionally in conservation biology as well as environmental education, Dan monitors endangered Turtles, Lynx, and Wolves.

We sew clothing of antique textiles, sculpt weathered iron, and dye fabric with berries and rust. We write and perform music embodying natural instincts and emotions that guide us through life. Meals of beach peas, seaweed, acorn pancakes, dandelions, and fish connect us to environmental elements and spirit. Riding bikes, walking, and organic fuels help us reduce our carbon footprint.

Born at home this summer, our daughter Veery is named after a thrush, which sings with two voices in harmony. She inspires us to leave a positive ecological legacy in our wake.
Our shade of green is as creative beings in a loving, earth-conscious stewardship of our family, community, and environment.

The Little Things That We Do

June , 2009 will mark our fifth year of being together. Although we have hit many milestones often done by married people, we haven't had that special day to celebrate our love and commitment with our friends and family. We are very established in our relationship, having a two year old son, a house, and being engaged for three years. We have been putting off a wedding for many reasons. One of which is giving time and space for mourning the loss of Kelly's brother and Ben's grandmother, for having a baby, buying a house, and changing jobs. In a short amount of time, we found ourselves going from pickup basketball games at the beach to picking up from daycare and paying a ton of bills. All of these changes have challenged us and made us learn how to communicate and share things that matter most to each other. The way that we have approached the stresses and joys of the past few years has shown that we are extremely compassionate, and loyal. I think that if more people approached their lives with more compassion and loyalty we would have much more active communities.

People who reached out and did what they could to help. For us, we know that we have relied on the help of others for many different things. Most importantly, we know that outside of our relationship we rely on emotional support from our friends and family. Being environmentally friendly works the same way; you have rely on others to give you new tips, and to help you get started. We have also had to come up with ways to save money, and doing little earth-friendly things really does make a difference in each water, electric, and shopping bill. Some of the green things we do, we do because it's cheaper, and some out of ecological motivation. Either way, it's becoming more and more a part of our thinking that being green takes little steps here and there and that it will really benefit us and our son. We love being positive role models by teaching our son what can be recycled, choosing biodegradable products, using hand-me-downs, yard sale items, and air drying our clothes.

Our commitment to each other is very similar to this approach. We have a limited amount of time alone together because Benny works during the day for his new landscaping business, and at night at a bakery, and Kelly works as a teacher and tutors after school. We appreciate the little kisses hello and 'goodbye, the text messages on break, and the moments we're all in the house at the same time. It's those little touches throughout the day that remind us we're in this together and we're going to take care of each other, and appreciate the joys we share. As a teacher I believe the ripple affect is extremely powerful. Right now Kelly's doing a composting service learning project with two science classes.

Students are researching composting methods and trying to get our schools cafeteria to compost while doing food preparation. Students are also organizing a composting expo for local residents and businesses to get connected with local resources for large scale and at-home composting. The knowledge and reflections students make will go home with them each day, and hopefully impact the way they live. Our expo will start from just 41 fifth graders, but it might have the ability to reach a hundred people. As one we can create some tidal wave size ripples if we believe in working together. Sometimes spreading new knowledge is as powerful as actually doing one thing at a time.

We deserve this green wedding because our relationship is a great metaphor for how we have approached being green. The little things that we do in our daily lives, and the ripples we create make a difference for tomorrow.

Douglas & Amy's ESSAY 2011

Our view of being green began long before it became trendy or used as a marketing strategy. Years ago, many people didn’t understand our choice to follow the environmental career path. “Why don’t you do something more lucrative?” they’d say. We admit it wasn’t an easy choice; at the time, the idea of being green was undervalued and we were jokingly labeled “tree huggers”.

Indeed, the pressure from friends, and modest salaries scared us a bit, but we were both looking for an opportunity to learn and contribute to the world. Our deep passion for the planet, instilled within us during our childhoods, led us to choose careers protecting the environment. Fortunately, our commitment to the earth brought us together, and it has grown into a commitment to love and respect each other for a lifetime.

Relationships are delicate, and both people must be committed to making it a success. We know that to make our marriage last for years to come, it will take a combination of hard work, respect, trust, compromise, communication, adaptability and compassion. You must not turn your back on your partner, or take them for granted, or you might cause irreparable damage.

We see a similarity in this with our relationship to the earth, but there is no option for divorce with the environment. We have one planet, and for thousands of years, we lived in harmony with nature, taking what we needed and managing the life-sustaining resources properly; it was, for the most part, a balanced and healthy relationship.

Over the last couple of centuries, our growth and technological advances have propelled us forward as a society, but we neglected our relationship with the earth, resulting in serious damages. If the planet were a spouse, would they have been so forgiving of our bad behavior?

Certainly, we cannot blame ourselves for the actions of mankind before us, but in order to be green you must accept the belief that you have an impact on the world around you, and it is your responsibility to reduce it. How you reduce it is up to you! We are trying to make a larger environmental impact through our careers, and we don’t claim to be perfect environmentalists by any stretch of the imagination in our daily living. We do our best to make smart, practical decisions with everyday situations, like reducing consumption, recycling as much as possible and minimizing waste. Some green efforts will save you money, and in these tough economic times, we all could benefit from financially smart and eco-friendly actions.

Frugality is a green virtue – embrace it! Other green actions might require a financial or time commitment, like buying organic foods or carpooling; these decisions become more difficult and much more personal. We urge people to do what is within their means; start with small actions and aim to grow greener over time. The important thing is to believe in yourself, and believe that your actions will make a difference.

The earth needs our commitment and respect, just as much as our spouse needs our trust and compassion. What vows can we make to the environment? It can be helpful to remind ourselves that this is the world our children and future generations will inherit. We hope to make it a cleaner, greener, healthier planet using the values we share as a couple.
James and Elizabeth's Essay 2010

Both kinds of love, a love of the earth and a love for one’s soul mate, derives from some deep-down source, like the roots of the tree. We feel as though our love has grown naturally, from friendship to high-school sweethearts and later into a strong and dedicated relationship. On the other hand, becoming “green” has been about getting back to our roots – the roots of our childhood wonderment as well as the basic human connection we have with the earth as its inhabitants. Sometimes it’s hard for a relationship to grow amongst the pulls and temptations of others, just as it can be hard to be green amongst the bustle of the “wired” world we live in. But in each case, we must remain committed; for in each lies a natural understanding and a way of living in harmony.

As stated on the Green Wedding Giveaway website, our grandparents lived more in-tune with the earth than we do today, but if we choose to remember, they left us a lot of lessons about how to conserve as well as build lasting relationships. Jimmy and I see our relationship as a little old-fashioned; as high-school sweethearts, we may be young (23), but no younger than our grand-parents or even parents were when they married. We’re already committed to each other and ready to handle the responsibilities of marriage even at our age. In a way, being green is a little old-fashioned, being green acknowledges that something exists outside the ego which requires us to put down the blackberries, turn off the computer, eat fresh, and just connect again with one another. Being in a relationship is similar in that both people must compromise and put aside any selfishness to truly connect with that other person.
Tiffany & Hosea Essay 2009

Green. Once a simple description of a primary color, now a word that has blossomed with multi-dimensional meaning: sustainable, eco-friendly, earth-minded, conscious. Much like the word, love, there are so many levels and meanings. What is "green love"?

For us, it is our commitment to healthy living and helping people. When we first met at Whole Foods Market, we knew we were meeting kindred spirits. We do nothing halfway. We embrace life with our entire hearts and souls.

Tiffany is a Naturopathic Physician and recently opened her own business- EcoHealth & Wellness, specializing in nutrition and body cleansing retreats. Hosea is a firefighter and co-owner of a gym called Lowcountry CrossFit. We have both dedicated our careers to sustained health and vitality by teaching others how to be healthy and prevent disease.

Together, we walk our talk, and share our love for each other and the environment by promoting a level of wellness that encourages not only self-awareness and presence, but beyond that ~ our link to, and connection with the natural world.

We think the Beatles said it best: "and in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make."
Tara & Richard's Essay 2010

We were reunited at a wedding ceremony about 3 1/2 years ago. We knew someday in the future we would have our own special day. At the time Rich lived in Portsmouth, and Tara in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Now we both reside in the White Mountains on the edge of a tree farm. To us.... being green is part of the life we live from the recycled garden cottage that we have made our home to the farmers who have become more than just a source of food but become our inspiration and friends. Green is part of every day, some times just the little decisions we make, where to shop and what to eat.

Other times it is the bigger decisions like using a composting toilet and on demand water heater and living in just 600 square feet surrounded by much of the food we eat. green... our economy, being local, sustainability, recycling, education, protecting & enjoying our environment full circle with family and friends surrounding us. One of Rich’s passions is food, mine photography. As our garden progresses we photograph our process. While Rich is busy preparing meals, I am busy photographing. Often I am asking him to wait a minute, don't eat yet...I need one more shot. We talked of someday putting together a journal of our meals.

Your contest encouraged us to start putting together some of our favorite journeys of food! As we grow together we encourage each other to consciously think about our day to day decisions, how they impact us & our environment, locally and globally. We thank the family values that have been instilled upon us which have helped us treasure and strive to preserving the beauty that surrounds us.

And thank you Clay Hill for encouraging us! Rich & Tara
Get Inspired - View the whole gallery
We have created sections highlighting the entry videos, art, books, essays and media that has been created for the contest over the years. Simply SELECT A SECTION from the top DROP DOWN MENU under the CREATIVE ENTRIES TAB. Click on the Back to Top Button below to get there quickly.