Most of us have missed the point with going green. We think that we need to save paper and turn off lights to save the environment. What 99% of us don’t realize is it’s not the environment that’s in trouble – it’s us.
Nature has a way of reclaiming its stolen space rapidly. Just watch a deserted house quickly become engulfed in wild growth. In a season the house can be nearly hidden and home to all sorts of rodent and insect life that found ways inside. If we all left, Mother Nature would continue business as usual.
We humans are not nearly as resilient. Many of us think we can’t survive without a car and air conditioning, let alone doing without basic shelter. We poison the water and air but everything else is adapting to the toxins. Meanwhile our asthma and cancer numbers continue to climb. NewsFlash: We are dependent on our environment, not the other way around.
Many of us are celebrating Earth Hour this year, but what happens after the hour of global darkness is past? As one commenter points out on the Earth Hour video, “seriously the intention is cute and shows how the people can work together for a good cause but honestly it won’t help to the planet ;)”
He’s right. One hour of the world turning lights off isn’t going to do much in the grand scheme of things. It’s a token lesson that hopes to inspire individuals to action. That’s the power of events like these – they light the flame inspiration in us so we can change for the better.
The day I vowed to live greener was Earth Day 1990. I was in Montreal, Quebec and had never given the environment or my impact on it much thought. My roomate/boyfriend wanted to watch an Earth Day special. I thought that sounded terribly boring but he insisted. As the facts and figures rolled across the screen I found myself appalled at my own waste and I vowed to change. I was inspired.
I haven’t exactly been an eco-warrior, but I have reduced my impact to a large extent. I try to buy used before new, recycle and reduce my dependence on resources. I hang my laundry dry and use an all natural detergent. I walk and bike when I can, stopped coloring my hair and have reusable shopping bags.
My contributions by themselves make a small impact, but if that same Earth Day celebration inspired 100 people to do the same that year it’s much more impressive. Now times that by 22 years… THAT is making a difference with 2,200 people all reducing their damage to their world. By turning out the lights we can turn on our minds and become aware of the consequences we are setting up. Every journey begins with a single step.