Monday, October 15, 2007


en·vi·ron·ment (n-vrn-mnt, -vrn-)

1.The circumstances or conditions that surround one; surroundings.
2.The totality of circumstances surrounding an organism or group of organisms,

-The combination of external physical conditions that affect and
influence the growth, development, and survival of organisms: "We shall never
understand the natural environment until we see it as a living organism" (Paul

-The complex of social and cultural conditions affecting the nature of
an individual or community.

That one little word, survival, stands out.

Very few of us are familiar with what survival is. I don't mean how to survive in modern world, wearing professional clothing, saying professional things and doing professional jobs. I mean, scratching a living from the dirt, seeking out water, choosing between feeding your kids and feeding yourself. The luxury of our lives is beyond comprehension....think on that a moment. What luxuries do you have in your life that you no longer see?

So this got me thinking about what I do in my life that could change, and of course, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of it. It is easy enough to change the incandescent bulbs out for CFLs, and purchase Energy Star compliant appliances; turn off lights when not in the room, not using too much water.....let's see, low flow toilets, composting systems, organic food, hybrid vehicles, you name it. Everywhere we look, there are people with something to sell us that is better for the environment.

And of course, there are any number of us that would like to take larger steps. I myself would like to go 100% solar in my home, but sadly I am shy of the money needed for the system.
Like many of us.

So does that mean that we can do nothing if we don't have enough money for the latest product?
Absolutely not. In fact, not having money may be very green indeed. How does that work you ask? Of course, consumption can mean different things to different people. It can mean eating less food, or local food or organic food. It can mean buying fewer clothes, clothes made in the country that you live in or buying higher quality clothes that last longer. It can mean buying in bulk, carrying your own bags into stores or refusing to take a bag, it can mean recycling your bottles, or using them to bottle your home-brew, it can mean purchasing less, using longer, or doing without things that are not truly necessary. It can mean buying toys that span a longer creative life relative to your child. It can mean not replacing that appliance with the latest and greatest environmentally better or greenwashed alternative until it dies.

The point is that green or environmental means a great many things, but mostly it means that we live our lives with greater attention. It means that we still carry water and chop wood, but we do it with greater attention to what we are doing, as many religions advocate. It's usually called living in the moment.

The fact is that much of time and space hinges on a moment, or more importantly, the blending of one moment seamlessly and uneventfully into the next. A moment usually feels insignificant.

But in a moment, one can drop a can into a recycle bin or start to carry a reusable water bottle.

A moment is all that is needed to decide to take the bus.

A moment can allow a person to realize that they already have enough of whatever they are looking at in a store.

A moment is all that is needed to stop the bathtub for a bath instead of a shower.

A moment can do so many things.

And millions of people taking a moment can move the world and make it a better place for everyone.

Millions of moments will do the job.


Bezzie said...

Yup! :-)

knitwitmama said...

so true, every little bit counts and all our little bits add up. So what if people think I'm crazy to use cloth napkins, and hang my wash out on the line; it is my little bit.

Linda said...

Well said.

It is hard, sometimes, to know the best thing to do, though. For instance, Knitwitmama commented that she uses cloth napkins - does the washing of those napkins (detergent, use of electricity, etc) cause as much problem as using paper? I am not saying that it does, but how are we to know for sure. I wish there was a "living green bible" to guide us.