- Aug 13, 2008
I forgot the important part about how being "green" isn't really a sacrifice at all.
Because, really, a great many things that we take for granted today, many of the conveniences and luxuries, don't really add much to life - in fact, some take away from it.
Say, for example, you trade your car for a bike and your steak for a salad.
Right off the top you are saving money. In the case of the car, thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Then, after a few weeks, you are getting healthier, stronger, losing weight, feeling better about yourself, feeling better about getting up and starting each new day.
The same goes of you just take a partial step, say riding the bike to work (or to the train station, whatever) once a week, and reducing animal product intake by half.
You still find yourself with more energy, a more positive outlook on the world. After a few months, maybe a year, chances are you are up to 3 days a week, and meat only for special occasions.
Meanwhile you have this big ole stack of bills piling up in your bank account - oh, and as a side benefit, you are doing a huge service for the environment ("the environment" being short-hand for "the future of all life on the planet, including ourselves")
Its like smoking. For a smoker, there really isn't any reward to each cigarette, other than the cessation of the withdrawal symptoms. The reward to giving it up is significantly improved health, both in terms of being able to catch the bus that's just pulling away, and in terms of a long life. Plus, all the money you save by not buying the cigarettes (and the health care costs some day - because yall know we aren't going to get a nationalized health plan anytime soon).
Its just habit (and chemical addiction) that keeps them going back for more.
Our cars and diet and electricity use and all the rest are basically like cigarettes. They don't make us happier in life, but we have a lot of trouble giving them up.
(The good news is, no physical addiction!)
Other things that are good for the earth, which in the long run are good for our pocketbooks, our health, and/or our happiness, include buying the absolute smallest car you can find, buying less stuff (we all know stuff doesn't really make us happier), living close to work (or better yet, telecommuting), eating organic (more nutrients, less toxic chemicals), saving energy (this should go without saying.) It does take more time to put the clothes on the line. But not only do you save money, that is time spent outdoors in the sun, instead of in some laundrymat or the basement.
Then, with all the surplus in good deeds, spend some of that on the things that make life better, (but maybe aren't the best things ecologically)
If you spent all year saving electricity, go ahead and put up that elaborate xmas light display.
After buying everything on Craigslist.org or from thrift stores, go ahead and buy a brand new high quality food processor.
After biking to work every day, take the car up to the mountains for vacation.
And don't feel bad about it!
Enjoy life. Doing good should not be a sacrifice.