As with many others, Greta Thunberg is my current number one hero. She makes me think. And, importantly, she walks her talk. Compared to most Americans I have a teeny tiny carbon footprint but Greta has got me thinking about how I might make it even smaller. I’ve realized there is more I can do but I’ve also realized that I am not sure I can go ‘Full Greta’ and I’ll explain why in a minute.
Greta does not use fossil fuel powered vehicles for transportation. For many Americans that would be unthinkable. At my last job I had a co-worker who lived just two blocks from the office yet she drove to work each day. When her car broke down she was beside herself. She didn’t know what to do. She was calling all her friends trying to get rides to work. IT NEVER OCCURRED TO HER to simply go out her front door and walk two blocks. IT NEVER OCCURRED TO HER! Sadly, this is the mindset of so many Americans. They simply will not go anywhere without driving.
I have not owned a fossil fuel powered car — or any vehicle — in six years. I’ve gone for long stretches of time without a car several times in the past as well. I walk! And my legs do not pollute. And they don’t require license plates, a license, insurance, gas, or constant repair bills. They have not only saved the planet from some pollution but they have saved me countless tens of thousands of dollars. And walking has also greatly improved my health.
Of course I must admit that going car-less has not always been about environmental activism. Usually it was brought about by debilitating poverty. It was not until I was forced to go car-less that I began understanding the environmental impact of doing so. Now I’m quite happy and healthy being car-less. As poverty continues to skyrocket in America many others will be forced to give up their expensive car addictions. This will probably help the environment a little but I don’t think this is the best way to address the climate crisis. The results are not as powerful when we are forced into action as they are when we consciously and purposefully take action through choice.
Greta also does not utilize air travel, which is by far one of the most polluting forms of travel carbon-per-person-wise. The last time I was on a plane was in the early 1990s. Back during the first 30 years of my life I was an ardent lover of air travel. I flew a lot and enjoyed the heck out of it. But then the joy seemed to drain away and I quit flying. So there’s not much I can do to shrink my carbon footprint by cutting back on flying since I don’t fly anyway.
Greta tries to never buy new clothes. She wears hand-me-downs from her older sister and also gets clothes from thrift stores. When I was a kid I absolutely hated being given hand-me-down clothes from my older brother. I simply refused to wear them. I didn’t want his vibes on me. And for most of my life I would not even consider buying clothes at a thrift store. Buying used clothes? Ewe gross! Right?
But over this last decade I have been slowly softening my hard-headed stance about this. It all started about 8 years ago when I needed a blazer for a certain event. I had burned all my ties and business suits way back when I quit the corporate world and I had zero money to buy a new blazer. So I bit the bullet and went to the local thrift store. To my surprise I found a blazer that was in mint condition that fit me perfectly. I bought it for $2 and when I got home I found a $5 bill in one of the pockets. I dare anyone to find a deal like that at any popular clothing retail fashion store.
I have since shopped at the thrift store on a somewhat regular basis, mostly for household items and books and potential birthday presents for people under the age of 10. But I have also bought some shirts and trousers and jackets. I even bought the first umbrella I’ve ever owned at that thrift store. But to be honest I have to say that I vehemently draw the line at socks and underwear. I buy those at the nearby evil Wal-Mart.
There is one part of Greta’s environmentally friendly lifestyle that I personally have trouble with, though, and that is the fact that she is a vegan. I just don’t think I can take that step. Over recent decades I have radically decreased my intake of meat — around 90%. I don’t eat pork and I rarely eat beef or chicken but one of my favorite foods is organic, grass-fed bison meat. It’s expensive, though, so I can rarely afford to buy it. But I still manage to have around 5 to 7 bison burgers a year — usually on special occasions or holidays. I feel good knowing the local rancher and his family who raise the organic, grass-fed bison and I know the spiritual ways in which they handle the entire harvesting process. And their ranch is only about 95 miles away so not much gas is used in transport.
I know that I could take that step and give up meat entirely but there are two animal products that I simply cannot imagine giving up and those are organic, cage-free chicken eggs and organic real butter made from grass-fed cows. I consume those products almost every single day.
Egg yolks are probably my very favorite food in the world. I only eat the yolks, never the whites. 97.41869% (approximately) of all the nutrition found in an egg is in the yolk. And 99.03574% (approximately) of all the flavor of an egg is found in the yolk. The whites are useless and go in the compost bucket.
There is no more orgasmic culinary experience than plopping a hot, yet still liquid, egg yolk into one’s mouth and letting its yumminess explode with flavor throughout the mouth.
And real, natural, organic butter made from grass-fed cows is perhaps the most crucially important food we can eat to maintain cardiovascular health.
I like the fact that we don’t have to kill the chicken to get the egg and we don’t have to kill the cow to make the butter. The problem, of course, is that we think we must have huge factory farms to produce animal products to scale for an exploding population. (‘Scale’ is my least favorite word in the American Business Lexicon.) So I always try to ‘source’ organic, cage-free chicken eggs from local farmers, several of which I know personally who live just outside of town.
I just don’t think I can go 100% ‘full Greta’ but I can get close. I can try. The important thing that I am grateful for about Greta is that she has prompted me to make closer observations of my own actions in order to find new ways to help be a part of mitigating the effects of the climate crisis. Very importantly, she is helping to expand mass awareness of how everyone can help. I give her my own personal Nobel Prize.
But there is something that I’ve never heard Greta talking about…
For years, many woo-woo masters have talked about how our outer environment reflects our inner environment. As the saying goes, ‘As within, so without,’ or something like that. The pollution in our outer environment is a reflection of the pollution within us so we cannot fix the outer pollution until we fix the inner pollution; our psychological pollution, our emotional pollution, our collective attitudes and beliefs and self-loathing, our fear, our guilt, our hate, our prejudices, our greed…
I’ve been working on cleaning out my inner pollution for decades. Every time I clean out some inner pollution I find more inner pollution that needs to be cleared out. I clear it out then find another layer of inner pollution that needs to be worked on. There are so many layers of inner pollution. Sometimes I feel like a big old fat onion. But I keep working on it.
So as we begin to observe our outer behavior in order to help heal the planet’s environment we must also be sure to more closely observe our inner workings to see what can be healed within. I feel that we will achieve much greater and faster success by working both without and within simultaneously. One thing is for certain and that is that we simply cannot continue to go on in an unobserved path of somnambulist denial.
Copyright by White Feather. All Rights Reserved.
Speaking of pollution…