Monday, April 26, 2010
Going Green Gracefully...
Since this subject has come up twice in one day, I find my self wondering what it means to "go green." Does that mean I commit to only buying products labeled "Certified Organic?" Does it mean I simply recycle, compost, and do my level best not to waste water or any other natural resource? Do I have to drive a hybrid car? Does it mean that I adopt a sustainable living philosophy and only consume things I can create or grow with the resources available just outside my front door? Does it simply mean that I don't use chemicals on my budding veggies?
Truthfully, it means all of the above and quite a bit more, I think. Each of us approach living on Mother Earth according to certain limits - time, skills, location, etc. - so shouldn't every effort made to honor and protect this little planet we call home be applauded? Unfortunately, all of this chit chat about "green living," "organically grown," and "environmentally friendly" has opened the door for the worst of human shortcomings: a self-righteous attitude.
Although the intentions might be pure, we've fallen into a nasty habit of measuring our behavior based on a sense of self-righteous pride...deciding that the actions of others just simply fall a little short. We look down our noses into our neighbors grocery carts and mentally note their lack of involvement in healthy living simply based on their purchase of non-organic cereal. We mutter under our breath about the amount of non-recycled garbage in our neighbors trash cans. We plant backyard gardens all the while feeling pretty smug and enlightened without ever considering where our compost, top soil, or seeds come from - and if we do, we're all the more smug for it!
A friend of mine, Peaceful Peacock Julie, encounter this green bias first hand while marketing her rather unique reusable tea bags. Although most reactions have been positive, even this small step into the more murky than green waters of environmental awareness has met its fair share of self-righteous judgement because these tea cuties just might not be green enough. Instead of simply thanking her for thinking outside the box (or bag, in this case), she was chastised for using "organic cotton" and not other materials. So sad.
Me? I believe that every decision we make has an affect and that each choice to conserve, recycle, and re-think our approach to life on this plant collectively adds up to a greener Mother Earth. Every decision is important and any attempt to honestly make a difference should be met with a smile and words of encouragement. Only then will we have the courage and tenacity to take on bigger environmental challenges - small steps, and all that. We need to go green a little more gracefully - with patience for those just beginning to walk their green path and inspiration from those futher up the road.