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3/30/2009

ReUsed News - Green


I've been working in my garden a lot. The weather has been warming and with the exception of a fairly freaky snow storm over the weekend, things are starting to look green. I started thinking about the color green and what I know about it. It is not a primary color but instead is made by mixing the colors blue and yellow. Our eyes see the color green because of sensors in the retina of our eye called rods and cones. The rods are more sensitive than cones but are only able to see things in black and white. It is the cones in our eyes that enable us to perceive color. Pigments within the cones absorb light waves, specifically the middle light waves are interpreted as green.




There are a lot of things that are green in nature. In plants, it is caused because of the chemical chlorophyll which is used in the plant for photosynthesis. Lizards, frogs and other animals are often green due to layers of blue and green color on their skin.



The color green is created in fireworks by barium salts. Interestingly, there is no natural source for green food coloring that has been approved by the FDA.



Culturally, green can represent many things. A person can be green with envy. To say someone has a green thumb means they are good at growing things. The U.S. dollar is nicknamed greenbacks and if you've moved on to greener pastures it means you are in quest of something better. Green has traditionally been used to symbolize nature and its embodied attributes, namely those of life, fertility, and rebirth. It is also used often to symbolize the environmental movement. Thought to symbolize misfortune and death, it is often avoided within the Celtic tradition. And of course, in traffic lights it is sign to go, go, go.



I was also wondering how many different shades of green there are. I thought about different ones I could name. Emerald green, forest green, grass green, blue green, lime green,...i soon realized that i could probably fill a page with only the greens that I could name and that would probably still only barely touch on the possibilities. So, I did what every good person would do when faced with such an important question, I googled it. According to some people who've speculated, the number is an infinite one. This hardly seemed satisfactory to me, so I consulted the experts. The experts seem to reside at the Munsell Color Science Laboratory. They quaintly have a website called Ask a Color Scientist. On this website there is a list of their most frequently asked questions. According to them, the human eye is able to perceive between tens of thousands and several million different colors.



I had one last obvious spot to check out on my stroll through the color green and that is back to my childhood and crayons. I wondered how many different green colors had been made into crayons. According to the Crayon Color History page when crayons became available in 1903 there was only 8 colors, one of which was green. Since then they maintain a pallate of 120 colors at any given time. Not all colors have withstood the test of time and have been retired. I wasn't able to discern a comprehensive green color list but here are some of my favorites - Carribean green, fern, mountain meadow, granny smith apple, shamrock and jungle green.



So, I hope as you browse these super cool items created by the trashion team that contain the color green, you keep in mind the words of that famous green frog, Kermit - it's not easy being green.

6 comments:

jhk editions said...

Wow. What a comprehensive, informative and entertaining read. Thanks. Regarding green cultural references, I believe it's also generally understood that eating green M&M's makes one horny. Hasn't proved true in my case, but . . .

auclairdelalune said...

Lovely musings on green. Verde, que te quiero verde...

tamdoll said...

Great post! Green is one of my favorite colors & now I know so much more. Thanks.

loneweever said...

I remember as a kid reading the John Carter of Mars books (by Edgar Rice Burroughs - he also created Tarzan). Early science fiction.

Anyway, the earth man who was mysteriously transported to Mars was amazed that there were some totally different colors there, unlike we can see on Earth. It struck my fancy and I tried so hard to imagine other colors.

Well no new color could ever be as precious as green in all its forms. Thanks for a fun post!

rock fabric scissors said...

Very timely and informative post. My husband used to work with some guys whose last name was Green. Their first names? Leaf and Forest Very funny, Mom and Dad...

Mother Goose and Gear said...

such cute items and great information. thanks!