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“Sex and drugs and rock and roll are very good indeed.” — Ian Dury

Green may be the flavor of the week, the word du jour, the go-to adjective for everyone from ad execs to activists — but between you and me, researching all the do’s and don’ts of eco-sainthood can get a bit heavy. In the midst of all this sobering work, sometimes a gal (even a green one) just wants to have fun.

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So is it possible to green your favorite vice? It would be a sin not to find out.


Let’s talk about sustainable sex, baby. And not the kind that requires a little blue pill. Whether you’re a vegansexual or more of a flexitarian when it comes to your sexual appetite, you can go about your goings-at-it in a green way.

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For starters, set the mood with hemp sheets, dimmed lights, beeswax or soy candles, and organic massage oils. Love gloves/jimmy hats/condoms are “inherently ecological,” Umbra tells us, for their population-managing abilities — and they’re even available in vegan versions, with cocoa powder in place of milk protein.

Don’t let toxins dominate your sex life.

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Going solo or planning to use props in a supporting role? Not all sex toys will do a body good. Avoid playthings made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or softened with phthalates. And when it comes to fetish gear, you’re bound to be better off with animal-friendly options. Fall in love with eco-retailers like Smitten Kitten, founders of the Coalition Against Toxic Toys.

In case you’re in need of some, ahem, inspiration, I’d be remiss in not giving our favorite Norwegian porn stars a hand. These working stiffs grind for good — and get plenty of press for doing it.


Interested more in altering the mind than upping the libido? Unfortunately, most of “the good stuff” ain’t so good to the earth: The production of meth generates chemical waste; growing coca plants and opium poppy often results in deforestation, while eradicating those plants can require toxic chemicals; and as for pot, it seems national parks are prime for the picking. There does, however, appear to be an organic marijuana movement out there, for those of you with legit medical needs. (And that’s all the Grist lawyers will let me say about that.)

Give your drug habit a chill pill.

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On to less illicit, but perhaps more delicious, spirit brighteners. These days, you can hardly flip a beer cap without hitting a new organic brew — though our heart remains in the hoppy hands of New Grist. When you get your buzz on, don’t forget to recycle the container — even if it’s got a lime or widget wedged within.

Fancy yourself a more refined breed of boozehound? Give organic vodka, whiskey, or other spirits a shot (or seven). And if you’re mulling over which wine pairs best with your values, let me uncork the mystery: It depends where you’re drinking it.

Rock ‘n’ Roll

Even if your music habit doesn’t involve ingesting harmful chemicals, this vice is far from nice. But don’t panic at the disco — there are plenty of ways to sing a greener tune.

Touring is one of the more carbon-intensive aspects of the music industry — both for artists and their fans — so next time you head to a show, walk, bike, bus, or carpool. If a festival’s in your future, try to keep it local and take advantage of eco-efforts like recycling stations, organic food options, or carbon offsets.

Reach for the (green) stars.

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Prefer to sing into a hairbrush in the comfort of your own home? Get your music electronically or on a refillable USB thumb drive rather than on CDs, which are made from nasty plastics. And if you’re eager to rid yourself of that hair-metal collection (not to mention that hair), make sure you dispose of old tapes, CDs, and other electronics properly.

As you hip-hop to follow this advice, give a round of applause to some of the many green-leaning artists out there — from Green Day to The Roots to Bonnie Raitt, and plenty in between. And if you’re an artist yourself, can I get your number? look for sustainably made goods like guitars that allow you to love your wood and use it responsibly.

Got advice on your own favorite vice? Let the good times roll in comments, below.