Imagine for a moment a world without the color green. What a sad place! What does green mean to us?
The modern English word green is derived from the same Germanic root as the words grass and grow. No color is more tied to nature or life itself. Spring is the season when the world seems to exult in viridescence, as chlorophyll surges to convert increased sunlight into growth. Green is connected not only to sunlight, but to water, which lies in droplets upon leaves and is processed by hidden roots into verdant foliage and colorful blossoms. Other colors may crown plants, but green predominates the landscape. Lizards, insects and other animals camouflage their bodies into this varied and brilliant green canvas of life.
We humans, who are not by nature green things, are drawn to green. Emerald, jade, grasshopper, artichoke, asparagus, teal, olive, mint, avocado– so many shades. Not only do we love green and its promise of continuing life, we use it as a metaphor for aspects of the human condition. Youth, growth and fertility are counterbalanced by death, jealousy and sickness. Thus green reminds us that there is no change without death, no growth devoid of failure. A naive person is green, like an unripe fruit. Green is also a color of safety, one that tells us when to move forward, and yet a color of risk. After all, it was in a garden gleaming with green that Eve was tempted.
Science tells us that green is light with a wavelength of roughly 495–570 nm, the color lying between blue and yellow on the visible spectrum. But surely green is much more.