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Motor City Homestead » Blog Archive » Trendy Environmentalism

Trendy Environmentalism

Just got finished talking to a co-worker who informed me that a small flock of chickens made an appearance on “Keeping up with the Kardashians”.  The show follows the adventures of a family of women who are apparently famous for being famous and having enormous breasts(that’s what wikipedia makes it look like anyways).  On the recommedation of a dietician, they bought four chickens for fresh eggs.

To my co-workers surprise (and dismay) it got me started on a rant about trendy environmentalism.  I’ve summarized my rant here for your reading pleasure. 

It seems like every magazine I see has a section, or sometimes the entire issue, devoted to “going green.”  Now, we’re not the greenest family in the world.  We drive two cars, our home is poorly insulated, and we re-heat leftovers in tupperware.  Our thermostat is set at a balmy 69 degrees, we leave too many lights on, and our weekly garbage pile dwarfs our recycling pile.  So this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.  I’ll let you be the judge.

But here’s my beef.  It’s not that these green articles are bad, it’s just that there’s something missing - and that something strikes me as very, very important.  Very rarely do they convey the notion that reducing your carbon footprint means changing your lifestyle.  There is lots of information on better appliances, electric cars - mainly ways to make your current lifestyle greener.  Again - that certainly has a great deal of value, but it falls short of change.

If the root of self-improvement is not a willingess to alter behavior and lifestyle, inertia will win.  The steady pull of convenience will outweigh any short term sense of accomplishment or inspiration.  And that’s the problem when environmentalism gets trendy.  It becomes a part of our superficial lives - the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the appliances we use - instead of a part of our core values.  Green is a buzzword that moves products, instead of a belief system that drives decisions.

And I guess that’s my fear when the Kardashians buy chickens.  Organic eggs, for example, should be more than an accessory, more than a reality show gimmick.  Do it because you believe in it and because it’s a step closer to being who you want to be, not because it’s cool and Martha Stewart just “greened out” two of her five mansions.  Cool changes.  Next month’s Martha will be about chocolate and kid’s birthday parties.  But what you believe in at the core of yourself will be the same tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.  And that belief will make the world green for you, your kids, and your grandkids.

That’s some motivational sh*t if I do say so myself.

63 Responses to “Trendy Environmentalism”

  1. mrs. varney-crawford Says:

    hey now - martha was my inspiration to get chickens! i wanted the ones with the fluffy pantaloon legs and tophats - instead i was given the functional ones that lay perfect, beautiful brown eggs.

  2. joanE Says:

    Nate, you’ve heard this before from me, but because environmentalism is not implemented across the board, it is exasperating.
    The little mom who was convinced via Parents magazine to use cloth diapers and organize her trash so she’s more green is working her butt off,
    while the high rises down the street just filled their three dumpsters w/phone books and 20 half full paint cans from a recent re-do.
    The state of IL doesn’t return cans or bottles. The whole freaking state.
    Meanwhile, the individual consumer is guilt laden over throwing out their cereal boxes.
    Whenever I bring this up someone inevitably says “Every little bit helps.” But does it? Not so sure here. I need a better answer than that.

  3. Nate Says:

    Mom - I basically look at environmentalism from a stewardship stantpoint. I don’t imagine I’ll change the world, but I do want to make the best choices I can with the resources I’ve been given. In addition, I look at it as a three-fold parenting choice:
    1. I’m teaching my kids by example to be good stewards of our resources
    2. I’m making choices that positively impact their health - fresh veggies, organic meat and eggs, etc.
    3. I’m positively impacting their mental health - teaching them responsibility in caring for animals, tending a garden, and hopefully teaching them to think about where their food comes from and where their waste goes.

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