Friday, 9 January 2009

Doing The Green Thing

by Gavin, The Greening of Gavin.

How hard can it be going green? Fairly simple, it just takes the will power to start living that way. One small action is all it takes. I believe that once you put your mind to it, doing the green thing is very infectious. Once I caught the bug, my immediate family followed, and so has some of my extended family. I certainly didn't force any of them to clean up their act, or yell and scream at them to stop wasting resources, I just changed my behaviours and I acted according to my new core values.

Over time they saw how much I cared about doing the right thing by the planet, they in turn started behaving differently too. Then I turned to writing about my actions via The Greening of Gavin, and then more people became inspired, and started behaving similar to the way I do. I like to think about it as a snowball rolling down a hill. Once it gets started, it gains momentum and picks up extra snow on the way down. By the time it reaches the bottom of the hill, it is really huge and a powerful force of nature. Sounds a bit like a groundswell to me, and that is exactly what it is.

By one individual simply deciding one day to change the way that they behave, and by taking small but deliberate steps towards reducing their carbon or environmental footprint, then others around them take notice. They ask questions of the changed person, and then think that there must be something in this or the original person wouldn't have changed. Then they begin to change their outlook as well. First it is a small thing, like changing their light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Lights, or signing up to GreenPower, and they feel good about what they have achieved. Eventually they ask more questions, begin to question the status quo, and do more research about what is really happening to the planet. Little do they know, that by their own simple actions, they begin to be noticed by others and so the cycle self perpetuates and continues.

So, you may not think that the small green thing that you just did didn't get noticed, but believe me, it did. If you take a ceramic coffee mug (instead of getting a disposable cup) to the coffee shop to get your take-away skinny latte each day, people around you take notice. They may even stop and think about your action. When you take reusable grocery bags to the supermarket instead of getting your shopping loaded into plastic bags, people take notice. I have even seen some feel so guilty because they didn't have reusable bags, that they actually bought some with their shopping to load their groceries into. That makes a difference. Once that person (who I unintentionally coerced into buying bags) goes home, they might stop and think why they felt that way, or acted differently, and might take another small step in the right direction. See what I mean. It is catching!

Even growing your own food is contagious. I have shown quite a few people around my garden, and within a few weeks or months, they too begin to grow their own food. I then point them in the right direction and answer as many questions as I can. Doing the green thing becomes second nature to them as well. Just like in the movie "Field of Dreams", if you build it, they will come. I didn't do anything special, just showed them around my patch in my normal enthusiastic manner. They could see and feel my passion for the food, my love of the chickens, the care I take with each plant's needs, and these kinds of emotions are a persuasive force and more powerful than some realise.

So go ahead, what are you waiting for? Give doing the green thing a try, and see how you like it. Your simple actions may cause a groundswell in your sphere of influence. If you have already notice that you have recently influenced someone in a simple, green or frugal way, let me know your story via a comment. All the co-op team would love to read them!