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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Black and White of Going Green

It seems that "Going Green" is an increasingly polarizing issue. One that is very much divided among religious and political lines.  And I guess that I do not really understand it.  It does not make sense to me that we should be so selfish about the things that we have.  The Earth has been a great provider for thousands of years, yet we take advantage of her at every chance.
Particularly frustrating is the thought that in order to show that you find "green" or "eco" to be bunk, that you have to live the opposite way.  This means that for those people, it is a badge of honor to drive a Hummer, or to live in a home with more bathrooms than people.  It is not enough to just live like they always have, there is a sense of needing to ramp up consumption and resource wasting in order to prove that you are NOT a treehugger.  Conservative pundits discourage buying fuel efficient cars, and push the idea that capitalism is king.  As a result, listeners are not just encouraged, but expected to go out and spend their money on anything and everything without thinking about how that affects the world around them.
Glenn Beck often talks of allowing God to provide for our needs.  That there is no reason to worry about the future, or the impact we may be having because God will not allow us to suffer.  This is fine to believe, but my belief is that this earth was provided for our use, and in order to show respect for that gift, we should use it responsibly.
On the other end of the spectrum, (yes, there is another end), are the militant environmentalists who live there liveswith a very limited impact on the earth, and believe that everyone should drop everything and do likewise.  Some live off the land, and off the grid, and are able to be completely self-sustaining.  It's just not feasible for everyone.  Remember when Sheryl Crow encouraged the use of just one piece of tissue?
As in most issues with two sides, there are nuts on both ends.  My thought however, is that there has to be some space in between for the rest of us.  I am most decidedly on the environmentalist half of the spectrum, but maybe only about halfway to the end.  I know people who are most decidedly on the conservative end of things, but still recycle and buy fuel efficient cars.
I would love to be able to be totally self sufficient, to grow all of my own food, and get electricity from the sun.  However, before I became a baby environmentalist, I bought a home in the northeastern Great Lakes region.  I also live in a small city.  Because I cannot buy a new house, or a piece of land, I make do with what we have.  We have a garden, turn out the lights, recycle, and make our home energy efficient.  Our family has one car that gets 35 mpg, and I ride the bus.  I wish with all of my heart that I could afford solar panels, but even if I could, there would not be enough sun here (even in the summer) to power much in my house.
The point that I am trying to make is that while I care about the earth, and wish that everyone else would as well, I am not preachy about it.  One way or the other.  I have always believed and continue to believe that a few people making a huge difference is not nearly as nice as everyone making a small difference.  Green is not black and white it is green and we still need to love our neighbor whether they agree with us or not.

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