I pride myself on being an eco-gal, a green living individual, a sage momma, call me what you will… I like to make it known (without boasting) that I was on board with sustainable, simple living before the fad broke out in recent years. Suddenly “being green” is COOL! While I am encouraged by many local and national missions to point our country as a whole towards more positive, earth-friendly living, I fear the fad outweighs the true change in lifestyle that it will take.
It’s not hard to find a “be green” or “recycle” or “love your mother” t-shirt these days. All the kids are wearing them. I felt compelled recently to ask a stranger wearing one (somewhere ranging in the 15-17 age range) what her shirt meant and she said she didn’t really care..she just liked the bird on the shirt and the font! For some, living green is nothing more (I fear) than a clothing fad, a way to relate to your “hippie” friends, a name brand to carry, a falsified lifestyle created to make you look set apart and different.
Now, I know there are PLENTY of people out there willing to both talk about and live out the values of a simple lifestyle. I know there are people that are taking the necessary steps towards sustainable living and doing it well and with conviction. But, I fear most are approaching it much like a religion of “give me some strict legalistic rules to follow and I will do them as best as I can and maybe I will create a few of my own along the way as well to make others feel guilty!”.
The way I see it, we need to instead approach this revolution from a faith-based motivation…we need to place faith in the facts given and hold ourselves accountable to the mistakes of our past by working towards change in the future. Just following rules (i.e. I will curbside recycle, I will change to florescent bulbs, I will unplug unused appliances, I will stop using pesticides on my lawn, I will cloth diaper my child, etc…) We need to have a good grip on the “big picture”.
I think it can best be broken down this way: CAUSE – EFFECT – CHANGE. Here is my example: CAUSE= plastic water bottles, EFFECT=become landfill that is causing space shortages, they take over 1000 years to decompose, not to mention the chemicals used to create the bottle leech off into the water/beverage I am drinking, CHANGE= start using a reusable alumnium water bottle and refuse to purchase beverages sold in plastic containers. When we know the cause and effect behind why we choose to make a change then we have something to be held accountable to rather than an abstract action to check off on a list with no purpose that is driven by no conviction. Wouldn’t it be nice, the next time someone asks you why you carry re-usable grocery bags you had an answer better than “they were cute!’?