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What's my motivation? Some thoughts on living Green

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People who choose to live Green usually have a few core beliefs in common: that the Earth has been damaged by the activities of humankind, that we can help to alleviate or even reverse some of the damage by making better life choices and that in making changes to our lives, we also enrich our lives.

This third point is a subtle one, but it's the most powerful of the three. Living Green can require us to sacrifice some of the things that make life easier, such as plastic bottles and jars; it can require extra effort, like driving to a recycling center rather than putting all of our trash out by the curb; it can even require extra money, as any person who shops locally and looks for organic foods can tell you. So what, then, leads us to make these changes?

When we live Green, we have to slow down. Making a lifestyle change requires thought, planning, and focus. We have to stop the frenetic busyness that all to often consumes and make a conscious decision to do things differently. We have to decide what we truly need and what we don't. We have to let go of some of the burdens we carry, from an attic stuffed with ten years of junk to the weight of our own expectations. We have to decide what actions to take: can we ride bikes to work or would it be better to take the bus? Once we've decided, we have to follow through. Lifestyle changes also require periods of trial and error. All of these things are what make us truly present in our lives.

Best of all, living Green has tangible results! Every bottle you recycle takes a strain off the landfills. Every time you choose to walk to work, you're leaving more clean air in the atmosphere. When you compost, you're actually helping move life's cycle along--out of decomposition comes new growth.

The reasons to live Green are manifold, but the best reason of all is the deep sense of satisfaction that we experience when we engage activities that have purpose. That satisfaction can be hard to come by in a world that keeps us rushing along with its nonstop demands that we move faster, acquire more, prove that we are Somebody with a capital S. Modern life is all too often live lived only in reaction. When we live Green, we act instead.