Green Building Writer Goes on Rant

{Readers, I apologize ahead of time for the tone of this piece, it is strictly stream-of-conscience, and may not make sense when I’m done.  I will return to “proper writing style” with my next article.}

I have been reading and seeing a lot recently about whether the green building movement is a fad or is here to stay, whether global warming is a myth, and how builders and owners are considering green measures only if there is a monetary reason for doing so.  There is controversy in other areas outside of green building, including paper or plastic, whether to buy organic food, and what to do with all the environmentally unfriendly stuff we’ve accumulated over the years.  Not to mention what do you do when you want to do the right thing, but you can’t afford it?

I’VE HAD ENOUGH!!!  It is time for a different perspective, one very different from our usual ego-driven, myopic view of what effects ME, and only ME.  Here are some thoughts that I think help put things into perspective (at least for me):

  • Last night on “Brink” (a show on the Discovery Channel), they reported that scientists recently discovered evidence that the Milky Way Galaxy (the one we live in) is 50% larger than was previously believed.  That tells me that I’m an even smaller speck in all of eternity than I thought I was.
  • On the other hand, I look at all the junk in my house, all the “stuff,” and I see that cause and effect expands the boundaries of my influence in the world.  (I didn’t even mention the materials to build the stuff, the energy to make it, transporting it here, etc, it boggles the mind.)  Although I didn’t cause all this “stuff” to be created, I brought it all here.
  • So, I am torn between the smallness of my existence and the largeness of my footprint.  I begin to see how my desire for stuff (equally caused by my needs, my ego, the capitalistic society I live in, and wonderful marketing campaigns) affects not only the planet, not only our solar system, but the Milky Way, too.

I know this is a bit woo-woo, “out there.”  Our planet will not die tomorrow if I throw a piece of litter on the street.  The human race will not fail if we do not reduce our dependence on oil.  Nothing catastrophic is going to happen, ever.  And that is where the trouble lies.  No one will ever see when global warming has an effect on our environment, because it is so gradual.  We will never be able to pinpoint the exact time that we screwed up, we will just suddenly realize it.  It is like the current recession – the experts can only see it as a recession AFTER time has passed, only in retrospect.  During the recession, we all struggle along, not knowing that we are in a “recession”.  So we now struggle along, not knowing that we are possibly in an environmental “recession.”  When will we know, and who will tell us?

This is even more overwhelming than my opening paragraph!!!  How does anyone do anything to change something that is so large, so encompassing, and so entracted in our society and our very humanity?  The answer is: DO ONE THING AT A TIME.  Do what you can do today, in this moment, to make a difference.  The difficulty is we have to look at things with a new viewpoint: not what does it mean or do for ME, but what does it mean or do for US.  US means every living thing on the planet, the planetary material, and the atmosphere that surrounds it.  For, without US, there is no you and me.

The decision whether to go green or buy organic should not be based solely on financial gain or convenience (although these factors do play a part).  I know this can seem overwhelming too – how do you weigh what is the best decision, especially when you don’t have all the answers?  If you can, do some research and find some answers.  If not, and/or after you do your research, you do the best you can IN THAT MOMENT, with what you know.  It is the thinking and the decision making that makes the difference.  Just buying and doing things because you always do them isn’t going to change anything, but thinking about what you buy and the things you do, that changes everything, even if it is the same decision.  It’s different because you have put the intention out there to make a difference.  Intention brings you more of what you intend.

If we all intend to be kinder to our environment, our world, and each other, AND take actions based on those intentions, we can change everything.  There is nothing that can stop us.  But when we let societal pressures, marketing, and ego make our decisions for us, we are sliding down the slope that leads to recession.

I know this is not a usual post for this blog, and I’m sure I stirred some of you up (at least I hope so, otherwise I’m preaching to the choir, and that won’t get us very far), so let me have it.  Share your passion (or not) for going green!!!!

P.S. Thanks for letting me vent.

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