Thursday, October 15, 2009

Green Happyness and Seneca the Wise

Nature does not give us a life that is too short, said the Roman philosopher Seneca in "On The Shortness of Life"; the problem is that we choose to waste our life, and then when it's at an end, we complain.

The problem of Global Climate Change is like that. We have a perfectly good planet, with a pretty reasonable climate, to which our civilization is well-adapted. But we're wasting it, and when it is thoroughly trashed, it won't do any good to complain.  The time to live well is now!

Fortunately, while the business of saving our planet is pretty darn serious, the stuff we have to do is mostly very pleasant. While thousands on Blog Action Day may talk about the serious business of Climate Change let me focus on the way going green will make you happier.
  • It's a challenge. Some of us just like challenges, that's all there is to it. Figuring out how to walk lightly on the earth takes thought and sometimes a bit of work. When people who are too lazy to clean up after themselves skank up our planet, all I can say is to them is: Man, do you look stupid! People like me, we really like a challenge!
  • It's an outlet for creativity. We all have a natural urge to be creative. Too many people have squelched it out as kids, so that it can be really frightening to stop and think, "Can't we do this better? Yes, we can!" It's like they feel Sister Mary Elephant is going to smack them on the hand with a cosmic ruler if they realize that, no, they don't have to mow their lawn, wasting their time and filling the air with gas fumes; they could plant it in wildflowers instead. The web makes it easier to be creative, because the results of your creativity can be shared with everyone, instead of only my immediate friends & family. If I have a small idea for a small improvement, its utility is vastly multiple by simply tagging it green.
  • You meet interesting people. Life is too short to spend with wasteful lunkheads; to find really interesting people, check out those who are on practical solutions of all types. I've met a lot of interesting people through Change the World Wednesday, Sustainable Belltown, the Seattle Urban Ag project, and so on. 
  • You live longer if you live green. Foodstuffs that are optimized for travelling long distances have to sacrifice something, and that something is "nutrition". Indeed,  there are often poisons added. Those food preservatives may accumulate in you, so that your corpse may stay fresh longer, but would that be any comfort to you or to your survivors? Likewise, every bit of walking you do is better than any amount of driving; not only do you need the exercise anyway, the more you stay away from the exhaust fumes in highway air, the less likely you are to get some awful tumor. In those extra years you live, you can have a lot of fun!
  • Food tastes better. Now that I have grown my own organic tomatoes, anything from the store tastes like plastic. Go green with your food, and you're spoiled for life!
Certainly, global climate change is a hard topic, and many hard things have to be done. But on the way, and at the end, we can be happier.

Wouldn't you feel stupid coming to the end of your life and saying, "Wow, I wasted my time garbaging up my home and my body. Please, give me another chance!"

Too late chump! The time to act is now, AND we're having a good time doing it!

1 comment:

Yanic said...

Hi there! First time visitor to your blog and will surely come back. What a WONDERFUL post!

Getting creative is what makes life interesting. Falling into a rutt can hapenn at any level and I think people that don't give a darn about the planet have fallen into a green-rutt of either thinking nothing is gonna change OR thinking one person can't make a difference. Which just isn't so!

Wonderful perspective! Thank you for writing it.

Hope you'll stop by my neck of the woods.