Between the deep green of a perfect, healthy Earth and the sooty black of a carbon-choked planet, there lies a large amount of gray area. When disaster struck in Haiti, our concern was not the amount of carbon emissions put out by all the aid vehicles that set out for Port au Prince, or how many plastic bottles would end up in landfills in order to get victims fresh water. Our concern was getting help to those who needed it, in the fastest and most convenient ways possible. That is as it should have been, as it must be.
On the other hand, in ordinary circumstances, we should not let convenience come before environment. We do, all too often, and that is how we’ve gotten in such a state to begin with. Dumping waste into the ocean was convenient. Using the plastic we created for our convenience and then tossing it into big piles when we were done with it was convenient. Burning fossil fuels instead of looking for alternate sources was convenient.
As great as it would be for our planet, we can’t simply go back to living the lives of our ancestors with no conveniences at all. We also can’t lead the wasteful lifestyles so common after the advent of plastic. We have to find the middle ground. Being green isn’t necessarily about giving up things. It’s more about finding some alternatives to the disposable items we rely on, so that we can use less of those disposables that we have to use. It means finding ways to maintain our convenience without maintaining our wastefulness. We don’t have to be perfect to be green, we just have to be better.
So, I challenge you. In the next month, find one convenient thing in your life that isn’t green and try to replace it with something that is. Drop me a note to let me know how it goes!