Eco-idealist or Eco-realist?


Guest Blogger: MicGreenearthhael Earnheart, Director of Sales

I once blogged about the green wave that is washing over the United States of America and the rest of the world. That wave covered everyone – old and young, conservative and liberal – it was a way for us to band together and collectively say "no" to toxic chemicals, the wasteful use of our natural resources, and to say "yes" to protect our health and our planet’s valuable eco-system. These are colossal reforms in our lives that are affected by an aggregation of small, conscientious efforts by all to live in a healthier, cleaner and safer world for everyone.

While these are wonderful progressions toward a brighter and more sustainable future, there is only so much one can do at a time. As long as you’re doing your best to green your life and green your community, you are making a positive impact. I fully embrace having the smallest environmental impact I can and a lot of my colleagues and friends feel similarly, yet I feel there are certain things I cannot live with out – like my car! But, I do my best to make the most efficient use of it and not drive it more or further than necessary.

The heart of my blog is a question: Is it possible for eco-realists and eco-idealists to live harmoniously together? I would absolutely. We, collectively, always need something to aspire to – cutting dependency on foreign oil, establishing the dominance of renewable energy, mass production of electric vehicles, larger incorporation of natural and organic food and products everywhere…these are just some of many things to aspire to. Yet, that is an idealistic move, it is something we are working toward and the eco-idealists are helping us get there. The eco-realists do their part by modifying behavior to be more earth-conscious and more sustainable, they make up the totality of the eventual ideal we are moving towards, creating perfect synergy.

What do I mean by this? Well, simply put, make those small, conscientious efforts I mentioned earlier and you will transform your real into the ideal. How do you do this? It is easy. Try these simple suggestions: If you have to go by car somewhere, try to do everything in one trip, it will save on time, gas and cut your CO2 emissions. It is fairly easy, go to your furthest destination first and work your way back toward home, it is an excellent way to keep organized as well. If you like coffee, skip the styrofoam cup and ask for a paper cup instead so you can recycle it – better yet bring your own thermos or tumbler. Pay your bills online to save a stamp, it saves time and some banks even pay you to pay your bills online. Rent college textbooks, it is always cheaper and the money you save on purchasing even outweighs the buyback price you would get from the bookstore at the end of the semester.

All of these are incredibly easy. Most of my suggestions save money, time, electricity, gas, trees and frustration. They are all highly convenient and practical. So, if everyone made small modifications, do you not think we would be living in that ideal world those eco-idealists are always talking about? Maybe not exactly, but certainly close.

So yes, by all means we need people urging that we need to drastically cut carbon emissions to be carbon waste free in 20 years. But we also need practical and implementable thinking on how that can be achieved.

Ultimately, it is not really a question between choosing eco-idealists over eco-realists or vice-versa, but finding the inner realist and idealist in each of us. It is also a question of never letting cynicism or doubt masquerade as realism, nor allowing naivety and hopeful thinking pass itself off as idealism.

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Originally published Sept 2010