The Colour Green

Green is the colour of life and nature, a primary colour within the additive model, but a secondary colour in subtractive models, for you have to mix yellow and blue to get green.

Grass is green, leaves are, the sea sometimes is green and moss as well. You see, it is one of the most common colours in nature, because plants produce a green pigment called chlorophyll, which helps to process carbon dioxide and water. That’s (quick and dirty) how plants obtain energy, feed, and release oxygen to the atmosphere – photosynthesis.

Some creative science fiction authors assign people green skin, so they can obtain energy from the sun rather than from consumption of nutrients. However, our skin surface is too small and our need for energy far too high to make that concept work for real.

Yoda searching for food
Even Master Yoda needs to eat!

Other nice ideas involve plant-based breathing devices in a postapocalyptic world. Considering a mature, big tree can produce enough oxygen for 18 people and can, for easier use, be substituted with phytoplankton (microscopic algae) and other seaweed-type of lifeforms, the idea is not as far-fetched as the greenskin approach.
An apparatus like this would still be quite big though, and far from portable.

Actually there is this Chinese designer Chiu Chih with their breathing apparatus. Though only an artwork, intended to raise awareness for China’s ever growing air pollution problem, the idea behind it is intriguing.

breathing apparatus
Chiu Chih – Voyage on the planet (src: designboom)

For now however, let’s return to the various interpretations of the hue itself.

Bach Ma Waterfall
Bach Ma Waterfall in Hue, Vietnam

Overview: Green

  • Green is the colour of life and thriving nature
  • It is the colour of hope (that there will be spring after winter)
  • It is the colour of Osiris and his rebirth
  • Young love, like the awakening of nature, is connected to the hue
  • It is a primary colour in the additive colour model (RGB)
  • Within the subtractive colour model (CMYK) however, it is a secondary colour, consisting of yellow and blue
  • Green buttons are for starting machines (or things in general)
  • A greenhorn is an inexperienced person
  • We associate the colour with an intact ecosystem and sustainability
  • The rainforest produces a good amount of oxygen we need, so we call it our green lung
  • A person who is quite skilled with plants has got a “green thumb
  • If a project is ready to be converted, it gets “green light
  • The green light at traffic lights is an example of a signal colour
  • Hunters wear it to conceal themselves in the forest
  • So the Hunter of Souls (the devil) is sometimes called Greencoat
  • Ireland is called green island, for the colour of the grass and the beautiful, smooth hills is exceptionally vibrant
  • Chlorophyll is a pigment that enables plants to obtain energy from light through the use of photosynthesis
  • Lush twigs at the windowsill may stop vampires from getting into the room, at least according to legend

More Colour Theory
Red | Blue | Green | Yellow
Orange | Pink | Brown | Purple
Black | Grey | White