All this talk, all this hype over "being green" and "living a sustainable lifestyle” - is that really it? I think it's time for a revision on this whole "movement". How about you?
Let us start by dissecting "being green". What does that really mean? Even two of my companies have the word "green" in them. I chose that word for one reason and one reason only - people get it. When I say I have solutions for people looking to "go green", the majority of people understand that I have something that will help them feel better about themselves by helping them a) make healthier choices; b) use "earth-friendly" products; and c) reduce their "carbon footprint" by reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.
But is the term "being green" a good one? Personally I think it’s okay. People get it and that is the main point of anything, right? That people understand what you are trying to teach them? But the term "being green" also has some negative connotations. For at least a couple of the currently living generations, the term brings on visions of hippies and tree huggers - not always a positive view depending on your vision. It also brings on visions of "radical greenies" - those who take the saving of the planet to extremes by spewing information that may or may not be real. They take current issues and twist the information so that readers envision the end of the world- case in point Agenda 21. First check out Wikipedia's summary of the agenda for a baseline, then check out (for one example) www.truth-out.org’s version. Agenda 21 has some merit in theory, but then again, they say even fairy tales were based from some fact and look what they have morphed into. What is real and what has been enhanced to scare the public into thinking the world is going to end? And of course the “leaders” must take control; to stop this from happening. (More on Agenda 21 coming in a separate blog!)
Let's move on to "living a sustainable lifestyle". We'll start with a definition of "sustainable". According to Merriam-Webster, Sustainability is 1: capable of being
sustained; 2 a: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged <sustainable techniques> <sustainable agriculture> b: of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods <sustainable society>.
In most cases, people view the term "sustainable" as in keeping what they already have, the way they already have it. After all, it has worked for them in the past,
why should it not work for the future? Ask that question of anyone who worked a
job for over 20 years only to be laid off recently. They thought they could never lose their jobs. They would stay until they retired and started to receive their pensions. How's that working out for some of you? I know far too many who
had the rug pulled out from under them. Face it - "sustainable" does not work; only "continuous improvement" works. Therein lay the sustainability dilemma. If you go back and look at the definition again, you will see that 2a refers to using resources in such a way as to not deplete them. The way we are moving now, we are depleting natural resources at a rate far greater than most know. At this rate, we may not see the outcomes, but future generations will. What legacy do you want to leave your grandchildren? (See http://www.environmedia.com/depletion-and-destruction-of-natural-resources-i.htm for more info) Keep an open mind with all the articles and media hype out there.
I could go on and on about these two phrases but let's stop here for now.
In my overly analytical, scientifically drawn, reality-based mind, I find the term "stewardship" to be that one that more accurately describes my mission. Back to Merriam-Webster, the definition of "Stewardship" is as follows: 1: the office, duties, and obligations of a steward 2: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care <stewardship of natural resources>.
The second part of the second definition says it all. I believe that in order to "be green" or "live a sustainable lifestyle" what you really need to do and be is a steward of the planet". That is, I believe it is all of our jobs to manage this planet in such a way that future generations will be able to take over and manage from
there and so on.
So I ask you – are you up for the challenge of managing this planet? It’s definitely a big task but just as with any big ask, if we all do our small parts and work as a collective team for the ultimate goal, we will succeed. I am Regina Andler and I am a steward of planet Earth. Are you?