Save Your Green Ethics for Some Other Guy
I have absolutely no idea what green ethics are…no, wait, I do know one thing that “green ethics” are. The phrase “green ethics” is just another marketing ploy, a way to get people to buy something, which in this case is environmental conservation. Why, for example, don’t we call it brown ethics? I mean the color brown is at least as prevalent in nature as the color green and maybe more omnipresent: dirt, rock, tree bark, etc. Brown just isn’t pretty to most people (reminding us of being dirty) and green has such a lovely bejeweled radiance. It is sort of like how everyone wants to save the cute, cuddly animals that we’ve anthropomorphized in our culture but no one gives a rat’s ass about the ugly ones, including rats. Everyone wants to save the dolphins but no one cares about the slime eel. Can you smell the hypocrisy?
As far as living in an environmentally friendly way, I learned almost all I know from my parents. Growing up in our house frugality was a way of life, not environmentalism–but the effect was essentially the same. There were rules in our house and while they sucked at the time, now that I pay the bills they make a lot of sense.
Rule #1: Turn the lights out and/or television off when you leave a room. Saves electricity and money! (We didn’t have computers at home back then.)
Rule#2: If it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow. Saves water and thus money!! (The city charges you for water and sewer so they get you coming and going, so to speak.)
Rule #3: Strict four minute shower time limit. Saves water and yes money!!
Rule #4: Turn the water off when you brush your teeth or scrub dishes. You guessed it, money!!
My parents didn’t even think about the environment but we did many of these things out of a sense of frugality, “waste not, want not”, as the saying goes. I am pretty sure this is because my mom was the oldest of twelve siblings and grew up very poor as a child. We even experimented with alternative energy in the 70’s and 80’ including passive solar (installing banks of windows on the south side of the house and skylights), burning wood and coal. Sadly, it ended up being cheaper and cleaner to burn oil.
Americans are economically motivated people and money needs to be the enticement to conserve and recycle, not some vague sense of green ethics. Besides, what gives anyone the right to decide my morality for me or yours for you, within the parameters of the law of course. Green ethics are like bullshit political correctness, recycled. The economic recession is probably the best thing to happen to the environmental movement as average people now see it as in their best interest to save, re-use and recycle. One can, and we do try to, live sustainably but I don’t need someone else telling me how I should do it.
The best guidance, again, came from my dad, when he told me, “We don’t really own this property; we’re just caretakers, holding it in trust for future generations.” With that mindset, we can’t help wanting to protect our planet and our resources.
hmmm. just realizing this: growing up in *our* house was just about as far away from frugality as you can get. it was more like, how much can we spend and get away with it? so, maybe that’s why being green doesn’t come as naturally to me as spending green.