I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the attitudes in my country toward energy and the environment. A quick Google search for non-profits supporting environmental causes will give you around 13 million results, a small sampling showing many that have popped up within the last ten years.
Another search, this time for energy conservation initiatives in corporations, will yield a few more million results and provide those which boast beautiful graphics and well-conceived, catchy slogans. One last search, this one a little strange but I have a hunch here, for eco-friendly fashion. Over 150 million results.
At some point in the recent history of American culture, it became cool to be green. Every product in every industry now has a more eco-friendly version of itself. Sustainable clothing. Sustainable fish farms. Lumber grown from sustainable forests. Energy-efficient light bulbs. Biodegradable toilet paper. The list goes on. And for those of us who have been environmentally conscious, even before the most recent greening of America, it’s wonderful to see our friends and neighbors supporting their world by making better choices as a consumer. However, we fear that, just like any other fad, this one too will fade.
This isn’t a commentary on “us” and “them.” The environmentally-conscious consumer is indeed the one who is currently driving the American economy. But how many of these pop-culture environmentalists will maintain their eco-friendly buying philosophies when sustainable materials have stopped walking the runways and Hollywood celebrities move on to other causes?
Here is my philosophy: We only have one planet. Just one. It’s strong and it’s old and it’s beautiful, but there are 7 billion of us, and counting. And each one of us has the ability to make a choice about what kind of impact we will leave on the environment. You don’t have to plant moss on your roof, or collect rainwater for bathing purposes, or experiment with turning lawn clippings into fuel, but maybe take a look at some of the ideas on the Energy Diet and try a few. Going green doesn’t have to mean a complete change in the way you live your life, but it should mean a change in your own personal environmental philosophy. Put your head into it and it’ll fade out with the changing fads. Put your heart into it and it’ll be with you for life.