My DH has been relatively accepting of all the green changes we’ve made – the recycling, the clothesline, the compost bin, the garden (especially since its finally spitting out veggies!), shutting the a/c off for days on end, but I know that he really doesn’t understand “why”. Why bother doing all these things – what good can one person do if very few others do the same?
There are lots of reasons of course, but I think for me it all boils down to…guilt. Yes, that’s right, I feel guilty!
I have a lot of friends who were raised Catholic, so I’ve witnessed religiously-induced guilt firsthand. Let me say, I feel pretty lucky that I wasn’t raised Catholic, because the guilt would have surely killed me! However, I don’t understand that type of guilt. It seems superficial. I don’t see the point in feeling guilty about something that doesn’t hurt anyone, which most things religion punishes you for don’t. I do, though, feel immense guilt about things that do hurt others, be it animal or human being, or in this case, the whole planet.
Garbage really bothers me. It is really scary to think that because I choose to use a plastic fork at lunch, that same petroleum-based utensil will be sitting in a landfill in hundreds or even thousands of years. I have always been an advocate of recycling as much as possible, even though I haven’t been as vigilant about it as I should be. My dh really does not get the point, especially after our neighbor, who is employed by the local sanitation company that collects our trash, informed him that most of the recycling just gets trashed anyway. I told him regardless of what happens to it (I have since confirmed that it does indeed all get recycled properly), we will continue to recycle what we can if only because it makes me feel better!!! That should be reason enough.
The same is true with regards to eating organic and/or locally-produced food. It makes me feel better about my role in the world if I can support the local economy (especially the little guys) and not support the destruction of our farmlands and water supplies through the use of heavy chemical pesticides and fertilizers. I feel better about myself when I eat a tomato I’ve grown myself, or a fresh-picked salad from the farmer’s market. Sure it’s not always cheaper or easier, but it’s better for me and for the planet, so it is worth the extra effort and monetary cost.
So rather than ask Why I Choose to be Environmentally-Conscious, I think the better question is Why Doesn’t Everyone?