CTNgreen Zen - The Attitude and Lifestyle of a life with meaning, true green

For the Greener Good

by Annette Ferstenberg

Contributing Writer
excerpt from the CTN Green Magazine, Article by Annette Ferstenberg
With the economy imploding, sales of homes down, mortgage interests up, Iraq warring, unemployment rising, Wall Street plummeting, lifelong savings evaporating and natural disasters devastating, why should we care about going green? Why should we focus on our measly individual and collective efforts to impact positively on the environment for a future we’re not even sure we’ll have when we’re barely surviving the present? Why should we conserve our collective energy when expending it, assuming the funds, on flights of fancy like cars and trips will at least help to distract us from our woes?

We all know that harbingers of gloom and doom don’t serve to motivate people. In fact, human nature generally wants to sprint in the other direction, for why bother trying when the outcome is so grave? And we all know equally well that being flogged with admonishing, nagging “shoulds” makes us all revert to our childhoods, dig in our heels and do the proverbial opposite. We also know that the sober, empirical, factual approach delineating the scientific reasons for action can just as easily be countered with alternative theories using the same or contradictory facts, until the experts have confused us into a headache or lulled us all to sleep.

So why go green?
I have a simple answer: because it’s good to be green. Nothing makes a person feeling powerless amid chaos feel better than to assume control over at least one aspect of his or her life. We may be unable to stop global warming or prevent the next flood, but each of us individually can start with one area of our life and change something about it that will make a difference, something discrete and manageable, like driving the speed limit or taking shorter showers or buying fuel efficient appliances or turning off air conditioners, all of which are GOOD for us anyway because they translate into financial savings, even apart from their contribution to the environment. And that action multiplied by millions, or better yet, billions of others, will make an exponential difference, will be GOOD for the environment as a whole. Actions having positive outcomes are reinforcing; thus, the more we see we’re saving money or feeling good about ourselves, the more we’ll be motivated to do more, which will then make us feel even better, save even more money, feel even more in control, and so on and so on. It’s like a diet or learning a new skill: you start small and build from there.

But there’s another even more important reason why going green is good. Today’s world is a paradox, huge, bureaucratized, specialized and compartmentalized on the one hand, and global, interconnected, interdependent and symbiotic on the other. Industrialization, manufacturing, commerce, finance, technology and the Internet have made the world very small indeed. Our shrinking resources have made the world even smaller. And, in spite of hatred and the multitudinous reasons that war, terrorism, abrogation of human rights, genocide, colonialism, totalitarianism, imperialism and their ilk exist on the planet, we all have one salient thing in common that transcends all of that venom: we all have to live here together. And that is GOOD. That is what makes going green good. Conserving our planet transcends race, gender, ethnicity, religion, political orientation; it is the one characteristic we share – we reside on this planet at the will and whim of Mother Nature and because of that, Darwinism aside, we have to cooperate to preserve her. It is the one hope for our future that can unite us. Global warming is thus a paradox, too. It can damn us but, if we work together, it can save us – on more than a physical level, for, just as it takes baby steps to change our environmental behavior, those same steps can be catalysts to changing our socio-political behavior. Going green can be the global movement of the 21st century, much like the movements that defined and transformed the twentieth—for the better. So, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving green a chance.


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