Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Eco-guilt

I admit that lately I've become a bit of a freak when it comes to the environment -- or perhaps a "freak" to my own level of standards, after all you won't see worms in my place for composting, I was born and raised in the city after all, worms don't belong in the home, unless they were on the bottom of your shoes upon entering, then you'd be force to go back outside and wipe them off. No, no composting, at least not yet, I think there could be a possibility somewhere in my future, just not immediate future.

I don't do some of the things that I could be doing to help the environment, but I am starting slowly, and eco-consciousness is very important to me, and global warming is frightening, and the fact that they're saying that polar bears may be extinct in my daughter's lifetime is simply horrific to even imagine -- I adore the polar bear, he is my totem animal, and the fact that they are dying off brings a spiritual death to my soul in its own way.

I have this odd sense of "eco-guilt" on a daily basis. It's odd, I don't normally experience "guilt" per se, but if I let the water run just a tad more than I know I should... eco-guilt... when my husband buys a bottle of water while at work and comes home with it I literally drop everything that I am doing to give him the equal eco-guilt look. Although it doesn't phase him, if anything he tries to mentally program common sense to not let me see the bottle.

I'm one of those "bring your own bag" people. I try not to use plastic if I can help it, I try to reduce my water waste, take less or quicker showers, not leave on unnecessary electronics, unplug things that aren't in use, switch to soy candles vs paraffin... so while those are small steps compared to most, they're still steps.

There is a sense that honoring the Earth as a Pagan makes us more eco-friendly and conscientious, and yet I know plenty of Pagans that hardly ever consider their eco footprint and their effect on the Earth that we are honoring as Mother. My Buddhist leanings also have me wanting to live in simplicity, and everywhere I look I feel suffocated by clutter. Goddess love my husband, he's been a sport as I virtually release us of clutter... so long as he can continue his D&D and computer games I'm pretty sure I could get rid of everything and he would be fine.

I've been fascinated by this man that calls himself the "No Impact Man". I came across his blog last month and have been reading from the beginning and have about 5 months left to get to the present time. The brief synopsis is that he lives in Manhattan with his wife and 2-3 year old daughter and he decided to go on an experiment in which he and his family create "no impact" on the environment. The process is done in stages -- no buying new things, buying food made locally (I believe it's within 250 miles of where they live), recycle, compost, no electricity, no carbon emissions (no car, no bus, nothing but walking or riding a bike), no excessive use of water... it's been simply fascinating to read and to think that for a year they committed to this experiment, while living in a large city no less. I'm inspired, although I'm pretty sure my husband is close to selling my laptop so as not to allow me to read anymore articles that will dramatically change our lifestyle.

I think about the simplicity of being a child. Even tonight as I was watching a "George Lopez" stand up special he spoke about how children nowadays couldn't last a day with the lifestyle we lived as children. I nearly peed my pants with laughter at the truth and hilarity of it all, but honestly, it's true. I don't know at what age we enter into where we begin to say "when I was a kid they didn't have..." It's naturally embedded into our DNA when we reach a certain age, I'm certain of it. But in thinking about the simplicity of our lives as children it saddens me to think that my daughter is growing up in a world of cell phones and iPods and technology that her mother will never understand.

It's nice to see the call to help the planet, and while some are only willing to answer it to relieve some of the financial stress, I suppose some help, whatever your reasons may be, is better than no help at all.

Still, I thought it was quite funny when I went to the store yesterday and picked up some toilet paper and saw the recycled "Seventh Generation" brand and was ready to pick it up as my next step forward until I saw the price. Hey... I'm on a budget, so sue me if I buy the cheaper one, that is still soft on my tushie. One step forward at a time... I'll get there.

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