Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Evolution and Evaluation in Green Living and the Green Movement

Originally posted on Planetsave on September 21, 2008.

If you are reading this blog, it is likely that you consider yourself “green,” or, at least, you are trying to do your part to be more environmentally minded, environmentally sensitive and environmentally responsible. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are a part of the green movement. And each part makes the green movement what it is — the entity it is — (on the global scale, the national scale, the regional scale, the local scale, and the personal scale).

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Throughout the course of our life and our efforts, we have to step back and look at how effective we are at achieving our goals, how far our good intentions are actually taking us, how “green” our lifestyles are. We have to look at how much our green actions are doing to really protect and conserve the environment. At the same time, if we are trying to be a part of this green movement (which is growing in name, in respect, and, to some degree, in overall influence), we have to step back and evaluate the trajectory of the green movement, how effective the overall movement is in making our dreams of a safe, secure, sustainable, lively, and vibrant environment a true reality.

To be honest, I have been involved in the green movement since childhood and am fairly “extreme,” sincere, or devoted in my efforts to be green and to do my part. Nonetheless, I just moved to Poland from the U.S. and I have found that I have habits and ways of thinking that are greatly less sustainable, less environmentally sensitive, than the normal, average Pole who does not have any special care or concern for the environment and may just have the vaguest sense of what the “green movement” or “green living” is.

Why the great disparity in our actions and ways of life, despite the fact that I am the “green”?

It is not an untouched subject, for sure — the basic essence of it is that Poland is a poorer country and has been for a long time and the lifestyles and behaviors of people here are partly a result of that. People live in much smaller spaces, re-use so much more than we (Americans) typically do, buy much less in general (whether it is “green” or not), consume fewer “cheap,” unnecessary, disposable goods, and so on.

Noticing all of this, it brings to my attention (more so than before), how much is invisible and ingrained in our way of life, the great relevance of the society we live in and are surrounded by, and the things outside of us that impress so much on us that they can affect our way of life beyond our conscious interests.

In the end, this brings up the ever-important task of self-evaluation and continuous evaluation of the green movement. What are our specific goals and are we actually on track to achieving them? What do we need to do next to achieve our goals?

image credit: zachary shahan


~ by Zachary Shahan on December 28, 2009.

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