Conservation as Lifestyle

Since today is Earth Day, I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little bit about the idea of conservation. According to Wikipedia, the idea for Earth Day came about when “U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment.” Since then, the day has grown to symbolize humankind’s need to tend to their only planetary home and to cultivate life, health, and greeniness throughout world.

Oftentimes, the idea of being “green” means that we should increase our recycling habits, drive a hybrid, and produce less waste and in turn, lower our carbon footprint upon the planet. While all of these actions would certainly be a big step in the right direction, I think we can also begin to look at conservation as a larger lifestyle choice.

Our culture, I am speaking of course from a Western viewpoint, is bent on wanton consumerism, ingesting all and everything that is pushed at us from all angles. Clothing, media, automobiles, gadgets, what have you. It has become a habit that is too hard to break. In the same way that binge eaters or alcoholics use food and alcohol as a comforting method, I would say that Americans use consumption as a way of relieving stress.

In Aldous Huxley’s famous novel, Brave New World, the citizens of that society used a powerful psychotropic known as “soma” to escape pain and bad memories. Over consumption and life in excess has become America’s “soma”.How do you explain the wide scale foreclosures in the housing market? Bad behavior by a few mortgage lenders or a group of consumers unable to recognize that they were in over their heads? Having a hard day? Nothing that a nice pair of shoes or a shiny new ipod can’t fix.

I’m not saying that it is easy. Shoot, I’m as guilty of it as anyone. But, as a complementary arm of the green movement, I think that conserving our addiction to consumption is also a relevant action to take. Conserve your energy too. Don’t let the rat race drain you to despair. Live simply and treat every moment with sound mindful action. One ipod at a time.

Happy Earth Day!

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