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It's not easy being green

Confessions of An Aspiring Greenie

It's not easy being greenJennifer Mo is right.  It’s not easy to be green.

I fully understand the challenges involved, and struggle with them myself on a daily basis.

I know I tend to ask hard questions on this blog.  I feel I need to for myself and for all humanity.

This might give the impression that I have green down perfectly.  That I’m a hardcore purist. In the worst case scenario, I might sound self-righteous, judgmental, and extremist.

That’s not my intention at all.  My intention is to encourage, inspire, educate, and support.

But I know some things I say may make you wince at times. Is that par for the green course?

I especially notice discomfort when I write about the environmental impact of air travel.  Naturally, those of us who have the privilege to be able to travel don’t want to give up the excitement, fun, learning, and adventure.  I understand that full well.  It’s not easy to give up the things we love.  Or even to do them less.  And it’s really difficult to know where exactly we need to set the limits.  I know these aren’t easy topics.   And the answers aren’t always clear.

I’m probably won’t give up asking the hard questions, but I want you to know that it’s never my intention to judge you as a person.  I know there’s a big learning curve when it comes to being green, it’s not easy, and it takes time to get on board.

I know this from my own experience.  I didn’t become a green wizard overnight.  And, I’m not even one now.  In fact, my green knowledge is sketchy.  It’s a learn as I go affair.

So I’d like to share a bit about my own challenges when it comes to being green.  Just to make sure I’m not giving the wrong impression.

The Back Story

You might wonder how I became interested in the environment.   It wasn’t because I’m a goodie-goodie. I don’t have prophetic vision, an expansive view, or clarity of heart.  I’m not a Rachel Carson or Frances Moore Lappe.  The truth is it was due to my own health troubles.

You could say I was living in a semi-conscious light green way.  I was probably more conscious of the environment than the average person.  For example, I didn’t use ordinary [toxic] laundry detergent, had periods of being vegetarian, and did a good part of my shopping at the health food store.  But I was still very far off from thinking or living full-on green.  I didn’t pause before every purchase and really look at the ramifications.

In 2004, my health took a plunge.  In trying to sort out all the crazy symptoms that appeared, I began learning more about the impact of environmental toxins.  A highly intuitive friend even told me that I should move out of my house; it was not a healthy place for me.  In retrospect, I’m quite sure one problem was improperly vented high sulfur heating oil.  But at the time, I didn’t want to embrace my friend’s message.  It was too overwhelming.  Eventually, I did move.  But subsequent exposures to toxic chemicals sent me for another nosedive.  Finally, I could no longer remain in confusion and in denial.

It’s funny how confusion and denial can feel so familiar and comfortable.  I’m not saying anyone else is in confusion and denial.  But, I certainly was.  So I can appreciate the undercurrent of resistance that can occur when it comes to being green, especially when it comes to sacrificing our perceived needs or the things we really like and want.

With these added exposures, my environmental sensitivities increased and I had to radically pare down my life.  That meant all the plastics, polyester, formaldehyde in furniture and bedding, synthetic fragrances in cleaning supplies and personal care products, books which off gas printer’s ink, paper infused with chemicals, and much more had to go.  It was a real education to see all the toxins a semi-conscious and vaguely green person was still living with.  I piled it all up on the deck while I made plans for its dissemination.  I’ve never been a major consumer or highly enamored of material possessions.  Yet, it was still hard to let it all go.

My Green Challenges

Although I became well versed in protecting myself from environmental toxins, I was still not well versed in all the complexities, intricacies, and subtleties of environmental impact. It’s only been in the last year plus – since reconnecting with the world after a long retreat – that I’ve gradually been learning more and more.

Here are some of the challenges I face in my aspiration to lead a greener life.

Location

I needed to be in a clean and safe place to heal so my husband and I came to Hawai’i at the end of 2009.  Due to the VOG and pervasive agricultural spraying, many parts of Hawai’i are not safe for people with environmental sensitivities.  But we found a good spot and here we are.

I didn’t consider what it meant to live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in terms of my environmental impact.  I’ve read that the average food travels 1,500 – 2,000 miles to get to you, the consumer – its final destination.  But clearly, food and so many other items we take for granted have to travel much further to get to Hawai’i.   It’s also a 20-mile round-trip to the nearest town (= food store) and a 50-mile round-trip to the nearest city.  From an ecological standpoint, it makes more sense to live in a city and use public transportation.  But that’s not sensible for me from a health perspective.

Food

For health reasons, I’m neither a vegetarian nor a vegan.  I know it’s far better for the environment and for our animal friends to be a vegetarian.  I hope someday I will be able to make the shift.  At least, I avoid buying items made from animals.

Energy Usage

I’m sensitive to dust mites so I still use an electric washer and dryer, the former being a big energy hog.  We also use an electric battery-powered mower on the lawn.  There are plenty of people that live off the grid in Hawai’i, but I’m not anywhere near there.

The Small Things

I’m continually befuddled by the small things.  Paper towels, sponges, plastic trash bags, plastic pens…  What to do?  I either haven’t sorted out an alternative or haven’t embraced a positive solution yet.

So you see, I am far from perfect and have my challenges and preferences too.

On the Positive Side

I’m taking steps to reduce my impact, but I haven’t conquered all my challenges by any means.  Every time I buy toilet paper, I’m well aware that there aren’t any paper mills in Hawai’i.  Rice is my main staple and I have yet to see rice fields on this island.  Cat food, dishwashing liquid, fragrance-free soap…  I try to live simply so my list isn’t as long as the average person, but there’s still quite a lot that travels the distance to get to me.

These are some of the steps I take to address these challenges and reduce my impact to some degree.

  • Keep driving to a minimum.
  • Combine appointments and shopping so I only have to travel to town periodically.
  • Work from home.  [Not an option for everyone.]
  • Stay within a 5-mile radius for social and entertainment needs when possible.
  • Recycle religiously
  • Compost food cuttings and  plant matter.
  • Grow many of our vegetables (arugula, mustard greens, kale, collards, miasma, cilantro, cucumbers, mint, etc.)
  • Buy other vegetables from the nearby farmer’s market.
  • Use a cloth shopping bag and reusable plastic bags for shopping.
  • Keep new purchases to a minimum, especially items from the mainland.
  • Stopped using cosmetics and use only a very small number of personal care products like toothpaste.
  • Books are a major challenge because library books often have mildew and new books have chemicals.  I purchased a Kindle, not the perfect solution environmentally, but it saves trees and avoids the use of chemicals in ink and paper.
  • Our water is obtained from the sky via a water catchment system.
  • Reduced our electricity usage by 20% the last two months and are exploring solar.

The biggest difference is that living green has become a far more conscious part of my life.

I probably won’t stop asking the hard questions from time-to-time.  When I do, please be honest and tell me what you think.   Please don’t run away if it gets challenging sometimes.  I understand where you are at.  Let’s travel the journey together.

This is where I learn about the ins and outs of being green:

What’s difficult for you about being green?  Have you found workable solutions?


Image:  ©Sue Alexander at Inspired Type

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33 Comments

  1. I like hard questions. Questions that provoke curiosity and stimulate thought add to my life. My issue isn’t with “hard” questions; it’s with answers that indicate a level of certainty where none exists.
    Riley

    • Hi Riley,

      Thanks for getting straight to the heart of the matter. It’s true that there’s uncertainty on these topics and some of the “answers” seem extreme. It would be easier for all of us if there were certainty, but that’s simply not the case. It seems we have to look at the information available – as uncertain as it might be – and each drawn our own conclusions. I’m not advocating that we put an end to personal travel entirely.

      As always, I appreciate your thoughts.

  2. Your list could be ours, except for the water cachement and growing some food (the rabbits are voracious). We are 18 months into a shopping moratorium and will be on it for at least another year, and that alone has cut down on so much packaging waste. Health has been a big limiting factor for us, too, impacting our income enough to prevent investing in solar panels, etc. But it won’t always be that way, and I note that places like Costco are now selling kits that are DIY and designed to be added to as time and money allow. I suspect, however, that we will sooner move away from this polluted and weather-challenged area before investing more into this house!

    • Hi Meg,

      Wow, an 18-month shopping moratorium. That’s amazing! I’m impressed. Solar is expensive and it takes many years to gain back the investment. Our roof is not optimally designed for solar, so this is a challenge for us. Thanks for the Costco tip. It looks like you may have a big change ahead, but I bet it will be so much easier given the simplicity steps you’ve been taken in recent years. I wish you well with this unfolding seamlessly.

    • Love this post and identify with your comment, Meg. Why put more time/resources into a house that’s not energy efficient or as healthy-life nourishing as we desire?

      (Thanks for the tip about Costco’s timely DIY offerings. Who would’ve thought!)

      I’ve been on the green path for a few years and finally, last year, took the leap to solar. As an old friend in L.A. warned me, “really going green is for the rich,” which concerned me to no end before investigating green technology alternatives. Yes, solar turned out to be very expensive but the benefits are priceless. Every day I feel so good about migrating off the grid, step by step (truly walking the green talk).

      But so many other strategies are free AND easy to do, so long as we remember to do them, and consistently follow through. I say this b/c I often find myself at the grocery checkout without my eco-friendly, reusable shopping bag.

      Do you have any ideas or helpful tips for remembering these low/no cost green actions that help keep us on course?

      Thanks again to both of you, from a happy vegan (for 24 years strong 🙂

  3. Hi Sandra,
    Aspiring to go green isn’t easy in our society. We’ve been brainwashed not to think about the consequences of our choices and steered toward what is easiest and fast. It’s going to take some time for “green” to totally penetrate every aspect of our culture.

    Each of us has to do the best we can to become greener. I never felt that you were too hard nosed about your views in your articles. Your articles and questions made me think about what more I could be doing – which I appreciated.

    One of the things that’s hit home for me in the last two years is the enormous amount of possessions each of us acquires over our lifetime. I recently moved and during the process of packing I got rid of a massive amount of stuff I no longer wanted. While I gave a lot away to the Salvation Army, there were things I simply threw out. I felt pretty bad about the fact that these things would be adding another layer to the landfill they would end up in. It’s taught me that I have to be more “conscious” when I decide to buy something so that I don’t buy something that on a whim, and that it will be something I can use for a long time.

    Thanks for making me think again and thanks for linking to my post too.

    • Hi Angela,

      You are so right that a whole cultural shift needs to be underway for green to penetrate every aspect of our lifestyle. It seems there is positive movement in this direction, especially with people embracing simplicity and talking about its benefits.

      Thanks for sharing your personal story. It’s an honest illustration of how most of us have been living to one degree or another simply because we had no idea of the consequences. When simplicity was “forced” on me through illness, I could suddenly see how easily I can live without all the extra, unnecessary stuff. As your story points out, moving is another great way to recognize what’s unnecessary in our life. It turns out to be a blessing in disguise for us personally and for the planet.

      Thanks for your appreciation! I’ve received so much help from intuitives over the year. I’m sold on it and happy you are getting the word out about intuition via your blog.

  4. Hi Sandra, I appreciate everything you do and am very happy to hear you aspire to be a greenie. I think that is as much as I can say for myself. I feel we are all students of life anyway. So I am constantly “aspiring”. Quite honestly I didn’t start taking sustainability seriously until I saw the effects of toxic chemicals on my own skin. But then I knew I couldn’t deny what was happening to my own body. I really respect the way you frame environmental questions. You are never judgmental, always full of inquiry, never here to admonish or belittle. I look forward to hearing more about your eco-journey. 🙂

    • Lynn,

      Thanks for your support and appreciation.

      I’m so glad you were able to observe the effects of toxic chemicals on your own skin early on before you developed more health problems. I’m stunned by the chronic health conditions (allergies, asthma, cancer, and others) that are growing like wildfire in children and young adults. The link to toxic chemicals is quite clear in my mind. Sadly, life will be very different for so many young people having to cope with these conditions for their entire life. It’s a huge cost to society.

      I will definitely keep sharing about my eco-journey here. I’m very grateful to have support from blogs like yours.

  5. In light of videos like these about H.A.A.R.P., which make me question whether “we” will even be here much longer, I’m going to do what I want to do without worrying about the future impact on the planet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TdIkI1ory8&feature=related

    Time will tell. In the meantime, enjoy the present. On with the dance!

    • Nancy,

      Very interesting! With the history of the atomic bomb and nuclear weapons, why would we be surprised that our governments might be researching and developing covert weather weapons?

      That seems like a big turn around for you to decide to do whatever you want without concern for its impact on the planet. I can see how our efforts to be green may seem pointless in the context of the possibility of government manipulation of weather pattens. There’s a lot to think about here. I’m not yet sure what conclusion I will come to.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and this video.

      • It is a big turn around for me . . . and “pointless” is exactly the way I’m feeling today.

        The change in our weather patterns has alarmed me.
        We are still reeling from one disaster when the next strikes.
        Now, it appears, that more than “global warming” may be causing the shift.
        It may be purposeful actions by the military.

        Why beat myself up about throwing away a banana peel, or flying across country to visit loved ones, when the powers-that-be are arguably engaging in weather warfare?

        This is NOT the world I thought it was.

        • It is a shock and and adjustment to take this news on board. I know you have a deep commitment to your spiritual essence and in these moments that seems for me like the place to go.

        • Despite the image of our impending demise looming on the H.A.A.R.P. horizon . . . I’m still laughing and smiling.

          This moment is all we have. Be here now.

  6. My family has always cared for the environment, we haven’t done a lot of extra for it, but where we can we try to save.
    If we have the choice we try to choose the green alternative.

    That is something I believe everyone should at least strive for, if we all could be mindfull of the environment it would make a huge different. Of course we can all get a lot better and I could do a lot more, but as long as we take it one step at a time things will tend to get better.

    I hope you will feel better soon and I hope this whole experience will have strengthend you as a person and your relationship as a whole.

    Thank you for sharing your story, your problems and your dreams.

    • Daniel,

      Thanks for your thoughts and kind wishes. This whole experience has indeed strengthened me as a person and brought about deeper transformation. Almost all of us will have challenges in our life at one time or another. It’s not easy, but if we can see them as opportunity for growth it makes such a big difference.

      Thanks for the steps you are taking for a greener life for your family and your planet. All we can do is start where we are and take one step at a time. This is sage advice since it won’t help to overwhelm ourselves.

      Be well!

  7. Thank you so much for your honesty and courage in sharing your back story. Being green is challenging for all since it truly is an ongoing process and there really isn’t a road map. We all have to find things that work for each of us, depending upon our own unique situation. You have done a fantastic job finding a space in the world that works for you. I think, as you said, being green comes from an inner awareness or consciousness.

    I have never felt judged by you, only supported. Thanks for all you do Sandra. And thanks for mentioning my site as a place where you find green support. I am honored.

  8. Great post Sandra— it is challenging to be as green as I’d like for me too, and I’m most all of us. You are way ahead of me, these are great ideas… thank you. Every little bit helps I think.

    Hawaii does make it easier in some ways, and harder in others. My daughter was actually at a special wilderness camp in Hawaii for three months where they grew all their own food. It was a pretty amazing experience in many ways for her.

    Driving: this is the big one, especially in California, where I live. So researching, coming up with practical alternatives is important: mass transit, and biking or walking wherever possible for errands. This isn’t do-able for everyone of course given location or circumstances. And it’s a huge hurdle to change habits for commuting to work or school for example—it can take significant time out of peoples’ already busy days. But for errands, it’s amazing how much you can carry on a bike, and of course gets you more exercise (good for most of us physically and mentally) and out and more connected.

    Off to the farmers’ market!

    • Amelia,

      I’m so happy to “see” you here and reconnect with you! I agree with you that being in Hawai’i makes it far easier in a number of ways. Especially in the area where I live, there’s a higher level of eco-consciousness. With all the sunshine and rain many foods grow naturally on their own. Avocados, bananas, papayas, and coconuts literally grow on some of the tress in our neighborhood and with the first three it’s a fun challenge to collect them. Many mainland vegetables don’t grow well in my nook of the jungle, but many others do. With the great weather, we never use heat. So it is far easier on many scores. I’m so happy you daughter had the chance to do the three month wilderness camp in Hawai’i. What a great opportunity for young people.

      Driving is a big challenge in California. And reducing our car use is the best way to reduce our oil use. So it can be a conundrum at times for sure! And then there’s those pesky habits. It’s just so true that we each have to look at our own circumstances – because they all vary – and see what’s workable for us.

      Hope you had a luscious farmer’s market. All my love to you.

  9. Hi Sandra,
    What ever gives me peace is what is right for me. I don’t know what is right for anyone else. Byron Katie says not to argue with reality. There will never be a perfect green world. We’re not here for perfection. I can look at the most wasteful person on earth and see a reflection of myself. I can look at the most green person on earth and see a reflection of myself. I am peace with myself and the world today. If someone who isn’t green or not green upsets me it’s about me. If someone green or not green is upset with me it’s about them. My reaction is about me. I honor your passion.

    • Tess, I love your comments because they always make me think, question, and re-examine my own understanding and beliefs. Byron Katie’s book resonated for me in many ways and I have respect for her approach. I certainly agree with the thrust of what you are saying in this comment. Most of us are embroiled in our projections most of the time. What I get confused about is the idea that if it gives you or me peace than it’s right for you and me. It seems like delusion or attachment might easily sneak in when we use our own sense of peace as a yardstick. It sounds a little like if it feels good it’s OK. Now, maybe that’s not what you mean at all. Peace may have an entirely different sense for you. I can’t say that I agree with Byron Katie that we’re not here for perfection. I think we are and that perfection already exists within. There’s still quite a bit for me to contemplate on what you’ve said here. Thanks for stimulating me once again!

  10. Thank you for this post, Sandra. I’d venture to say almost every one of us is an aspiring greenie. If each of us did the best we could, it would make a big difference.

    Love this: “My intention is to encourage, inspire, educate, and support.”

    I truly believe this mentality is what will advance the global green initiative.

    • Renee,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. This is such a good point > “…if we all did the best we could, it would makes a big difference.” Even if we can’t do 100%, we can do what we can and like each drop of water creates an ocean, together we can make an ocean of difference.

  11. I can relate to the challenges you present here. In many cases, I do not like the process, but the green alternative option is just not reasonable, to me, yet. For instance, I tried to go without a microwave. Just could not do it. I found it much too inconvenient and time consuming. I do limit my use of it drastically and cringe every time I use it (and stand far away!), but I would rather have it than not.

    Like you, I think the first step is for all of us to become conscious of our every day activities, how they impact everything else and do what we can.

  12. You’ve made some good points, Debbie. We have to focus on what’s practical for each of us or we may not do anything at all. I had to smile at the image of you standing far away and cringing every time you use the microwave. You are definitely using it consciously! We will each have our own little stumbling backs. It’s good to work around them and do what we can in other ways. Thanks for your thoughts.

  13. I LOVE being asked the hard questions, Sandra, even when contemplating them is uncomfortable. To me the biggest overall problem, the one that led us all into this mess, is that we grow up in a culture that encourages and rewards us for living selfishly and competitively instead of being urged to be a part of the ecosystem ourselves, to fit in and subordinate ourselves to nature. We are told we have “succeeded” if we have a huge pile of money, and will not admit that it’s impossible to really live green and still amass a million dollars. It’s supposed to be “good” if we have enough money to buy a new car every couple of years, live in the biggest artificial structure we can possibly afford, take long-distance vacations, to eat out often at restaurants, to buy new clothes and have a lot of extra wardrobe, to each purchase every kind of item we would ever occasionaslly need from garden tools to kitchenware.

    If we really wanted to live green, each neighborhood would only need one lawnmower. We all need a broom, but a vacuum per 3-4 homes would suffice. Computer storage could be networked and combined on servers, and cloud computing could cut costs. Gardening, composting and wind/solar (or other) power generation should all be communal. Carpooling should be proactively rewarded, like with a gas price discount, and building public transportation should be a priority above the manufacture of weapons and the waging of wars.

    We should and could be living with more people per building, and we could learn to take direct care of each other, and each other’s family members. We could learn to be part of a larger family by choice instead of only by blood relation and coupling. Instead, we are told to each create a tiny little green world, remaining separate sovereign entities, over-consuming in all directions.

    Without deep and meaningful interdependence with all our neighbors, greenness is unachievable. We jealously guard our illusions about personal freedoms without factoring in responsibility and accountability. We refuse to face honestly what kind of pigs we have become, as individuals and as a nation. I don’t think we can make it all work without changing the system and our culture from top to bottom, inside and out. Individual actions, though correct, aren’t enough to solve the problems.

    But in the meantime, I’ll continue to do all I can do by owning less, living and working close and being as kind as I can be in the face of our corporate foolishness. I still love people, probably because our capacity for invention is both the root of our self-delusion, and the source of our creativity.

    • What an amazing and thought provoking essay, Mike. Truthfully, some of the comments on my posts – like yours right here – are far more meaningful and insightful than the post itself! I can’t thank you enough and I wish you would turn this into a blog post on your blog.

      These are the two big messages I am getting –

      1) “Without deep and meaningful interdependence with all our neighbors, greenness is unachievable.” I think you are entirely right, just talking about taking our individual eco-steps will not necessarily address the problems or challenges we face, because they actually run much deeper as you describe here.

      2) To me the biggest overall problem, the one that led us all into this mess, is that we grow up in a culture that encourages and rewards us for living selfishly and competitively instead of being urged to be a part of the ecosystem ourselves, to fit in and subordinate ourselves to nature.

      My little “hard questions” pale in comparison to you truth-telling: “We refuse to face honestly what kind of pigs we have become, as individuals and as a nation.”

      Honestly, I never thought about sharing a lawnmower. Which is precisely why it’s appropriate to be writing this article of confessions. We only use our lawnmower once a month. So duh, of course it could be used by others. [Except everyone here uses gas powered mowers and the fumes make me sick, but that’s a minor detail.] This kind of thinking in terms of small neighborhood or community sharing is really smart.

      This is so true and it really is the challenge for this generation > “I don’t think we can make it all work without changing the system and our culture from top to bottom, inside and out. Individual actions, though correct, aren’t enough to solve the problems.”

      There’s a lot to think of here and, I see, much more that I could do. I’m grateful you are such a truth teller!

  14. Hi Sandra,
    I love challenging questions..so thank you for the courage and love to pose them.
    I am also one who until a short while ago used to “run” (not in the blogging world, but in general) if I felt uncomfortable; I’ve learned to lean into my discomfort to decrease my barriers and increase Flow.
    As for being green..interesting to me is that as a live aboard boater our marina does not provide recycling containers or a recycling program. Ours is typically a green community, and we may be self sustaining with the right equipment on board..my boat is not self sustaining however.
    I’ve recently fully embraced the idea that my energy is made up of all that I ingest..and the energy I share also includes that as well..since it is my goal to share pure, it is my focus then to align my internal with external, which means much research on allowing my life to be as pure “green” as possible.
    Very many perspectives..I love diversity and all that other’s reflections teach me and allow me to affirm! Thank you:)

  15. I love it when you provoke us to think more on something meaningful. Like so many other areas of my life, being green is a constant work in progress where I try to keep improving. There are so many issues and the impact on our world is huge… but I believe every small step we contribute does help.

    Still on my to-do list is to go solar, grow my own and compost. And I hope to find a job close to home so I don’t go back to driving a long commute. I formerly spent 2-3 hours a day on the LA freeways and it was not good. I’d love to see companies embrace telecommuting more and reduce business travel with video conferencing.

    ps: thanks for using my design here!

    Happy day to you :~)

    Sue

    • My goodness, Sue, I couldn’t image commuting 2-3 hours a day on LA freeways. My heart really goes out to you and all those that have these huge commutes. I used to live in Southern California so I have a sense of what that might be like. I hope you will be able to find a job close to home. This makes me see how Mike’s comment above is so compelling > we need to do a major overhaul of our whole system and culture.

      Good luck with your green to-do list. Like you said, it’s a work in progress and I know you are going in the right direction.

      I’m glad enjoy my little challenges! Be well.

  16. So I have a B Sc. in Environmental Science from UEA, (University of East Anglia.) Never used my degree, but I think about environmental issues. I also use my own bags at the grocery store and cringe when I see women with about 25 plastic bags of groceries in their cart. WHY??? Aren’t they aware? This is one of the easiest things for us to change. I’m waiting for U.S. grocery stores to charge 50 cents per bag like they do in some European countries. That’s the only way to make everyone change.

  17. Hi Sandra. What a piece. The first thing I thought of when you wrote “It’s not easy being green” is a song by that name from the muppets. Kermit sang it but I can’t for the life of me remember what episode or muppets movie has it.

    You are very right in saying that being green is a very big challenge. I think that part of the problem is that for the most part our society’s teachings don’t even address it. It is more important to have the status and power associated with the mythical “good life”.

    Personally I’m a wiz at the transportation side. Since I can’t drive due to being legally blind I have had to walk or ride public transit including Amtrak. What is amazing to me is that when I was little one of the things I wanted to do was to fly. I have since shelved this dream in favor of a better world for others.

    Toxic chemicals in just about everything is not totally new but I haven’t’ spent that much time with it until a few years ago. I have tried even making my own shampoo/bodywash, toothpaste and and use castil soap when hand washing clothe. I am currently thinking about finding some kind of rock that is supposed to used as a deodorant that is called that “deodorant rock”.

    There are of course many other tbings that I would love to see addressed both in my personal life and within the collective of our species like energy use and acquisition, urban design, and work/education/play locations and their relationship to the big picture of us taking our place as the keepers of the Earth.

    Well that should do it for now. Have a great day.

    P.S. I don’t think your question are that hard but they do need to be asked by someone.

  18. Hi Sandra.

    I’m a little late to this party of comments. Thank you so much for your post and also sharing some of your back story with us. Sometimes health problems can really help illuminate our lives as now not only is your health improving so is the health of the Earth. And I appreciated your earnestness regarding green challenges.

    I was fortunate as when I was in my 20s I moved to the end of a road in Alaska. Re-use, reduce, recycle were ways of living out of necessity and so my culture just drilled it into my being that you did this for pragmatics and for the sake of the wilderness and water. Of course, I was so naive at the time, I joined in as it sounded good!

    That said, I think our green hue is based on our relationship to self, relationship to others, and relationship to the Earth. Living green is really about how much consciousness we want to put into our efforts. As so many of the readers have shared, it takes discipline, sacrifice, and a joyous knowing that we are creating something more wholesome by our actions. A few things we’ve done in our life out of the ordinary is not buy new cars when a fine running, gas efficient car is starting to rust :^) and to purchase a snowblower and lawnmower with our next door neighbors.

    Each of us gets to decide how aware and pro-active we want to be with our relationship with the Earth. Thank you for asking the green question because it truly heightens our awareness.

    Healing to you also with the temple of your body.
    Susie

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