Tuesday, October 9

Blog Action Day: Why I Signed Up

I do my best to live as consciously as I can, and my interest in nature began at a very young age. Science was a favorite subject in school, and I spent my first year of college convinced that environmental engineering would be my life's calling. I garden organically and am working on eliminating my lawn.

With all that said, you may wonder why the enviro- movement has somewhat "lost" me along the way... well, I'll tell you: I detest the superior attitude of some of those who have "found Green," so to speak, and find some of their elitist attitudes to be incredibly counterproductive. I'm sure I'm not the only one who keenly feels her inadequacy when studied with the judgemental eye of the Eco-saint. I can't be the only who hangs her head and thinks, Eeyore-like, "Little old me. What difference did I think I could make, really? Why should I bother?"

And that leads me to why I signed up to do a post on Blog Action Day. Call me Pollyanna, but I signed up because ultimately, I believe that the little things matter. The point of Blog Action Day is not to get a million people to change the bulbs in every light fixture they own--or some other equally grand gesture. No, the point is for each blogger to relate the environment to his or her usual subject matter and illuminate the issue in many small but personal ways. It may eventually create a light just as bright.

So what am I going to talk about on Monday? I really don't know. But I can tell you that you won't be getting any fire-and-brimstone or pep-rally attitude here. I don't feel very comfortable rabble-rousing or getting up on a soapbox, and I am definitely not fit to cast the proverbial first stone.

No, I'd rather be here at ground level, digging around in the dirt for inspiration.. appreciating the little things and the many shades of Green, and sharing whatever delightful things I find.


Karen said...

I love your photos today. Could you possibly identify the plant combinations you have shown? Some I recognize, but a refresher is always good too.

I know what you mean about eco-saints. There's only so much you can do, and you do as much as you can. I like to look at my weed-infested back slope and think of it as my contribution to the environment. It used to be a small patch of lawn (almost all that remains on our property), but we followed the restrictive watering ban in our jurisdiction, and we avoided chemical pesticides (that are now banned anyway), et voila: all the grass died and now we have weeds!

Unknown said...

Pic 1: Golden creeping Jenny peaking out from under the leaves of 'Jack Frost' brunnera--and the neighbor's beech leaves, which I love.

Pic 2: The large leaves of nicotiana sylvestris next to an unnamed, inherited heuchera that turned red-and-green this year (it's usually dark purple) due to drought stress.

Pic 3: The cute little yellow flowers are 'Banana Margarita' portulaca, with a clump of Japanese bloodgrass and a cascade of woolly thyme.

Pic 4: There are actually 3 plants here! The flowers belong to 'Samurai' tricyrtis--you might be able to barely see its leaves, edged in gold, in the upper right--and they are hovering over a branch of 'Hillside Black Beauty' cimicifuga (reclassified as actaea) that's mingling with the leaves of 'Lightning Strike' tricyrtis. Both toad lilies were in their pots at this time, but I liked this pic so much that I ended up planting them nearby anyway.

By the way, Karen the Eco-saints thing was inspired by an email exchange I had with my friend J recently about what little things we did to help the environment... and we kind of joked about her old roommate, who would probably have sniffed at both of our meager efforts. I kind of had her in mind when I wrote this.

Unknown said...

lol... oops, it should say that the leaves of 'Samurai' might be seen in the upper left, not right. It's Thursday and I've already worked 52 hours this week... I guess I shouldn't be surprised at a mistake here and there, huh?

Also, I meant to say that I grinned at your comments on the grass-turned-weeds. I like to think of my "lawn" that way, too! :)

Karen said...

Your heuchera could be 'Purple Petticoats'. It looks very similar to the one I planted recently. But I know how hard it is to identify unknown heuchera. :-)

I've encountered others like the particular person you describe. I'm sure it's a recognizable (stereo)type.

Colleen Vanderlinden said...

It sounds like you signed up for all the right reasons, and I know I'm looking forward to your post, just as I always do :-)

I absolutely, positively get your point about eco-saints. I do try to live as "green" as possible, but I'm a long, long way from getting off the grid and biking everywhere I go. My philosophy of the whole thing is to just do what you're able, because every little change matters.

Entangled said...

What a wonderfully thoughtful post. I look forward to reading your Blog Action Day writing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you from a fellow earth lover who feels just the same way! We all just try to do our best from an informed point of view. I am also going to post from 'a gardeners' love of the earth' point of view! Thanks.

Melissa said...

I love your thoughts on this. I do as many things as I can as long as they are practical for me (and I will and do go out of my way - but I have some very strong spots where I can't be inconvenienced at this point in my life).

I feel the need to defend my right to have weaknesses in green living - I guess that means you are right about those eco-saints.

The world needs more like you and other readers and commentors on your blog.

lisa said...

I'm with you about the eco-saints, Kim! Much as I'd love to get my house off-grid, I just can't afford several tens of thousands of dollars to go solar. But I do recycle like a mad woman, and try to stay organic in my gardening. Looking forward to your post!

Annie in Austin said...

You've articulated what a lot of people of good heart are feeling, Kim. I'm wrestling with my post, and am looking forward to yours.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Christopher C. NC said...

I remember you writing about this before: being turned off by the radical absolutist environmentalists. It is next to impossible to be perfectly green within the culture that we find ourdelves. We do the best we can.

I signed up for Blog Action Day and have no idea what I will post, except that it is Garden Blogger Bloom Day too.

Anonymous said...

erm ... yeah ditto what you said. I like to think every little bit matters too (and can feel Pollyanna dimples forming in my cheeks). I don't always follow through with my "little bit" though and slink around hoping no one has noticed that I didn't ride my bike to work and forgot to turn off the power strip. I'm beginning to suspect that the power of guilt will change the world... Looks like I'm in very good company not knowing what to do for my action day/bloom day post. Happy ponderings!

Unknown said...

I'll flounce my Pollyanna Petticoats here too, and say I'm with you. I was into organic way, WAY before it was cool, but I'm no organo-nazi or Eco-saint. My role is to do what I can to green up my corner of the world, and cheerlead others to do the same. If they want to break out the Weed n Feed, I just shrug--they aren't gonna change--and conversely, if they look down their noses because I buy plants from non-organic as well as organic nurseries...well, that's good for them. I'm happy with how things are here and if I can encourage others...I'm doing something good for my planet.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'm of the firm belief that if everyone did just a little bit to make the planet a better place, the cumulative effect would be huge. However, no one should be made to feel guilty that they are not living up to some arbitrary standard of "greenness."

Unknown said...

Karen, I've been googling 'Purple Petticoats' and I think that you just may be right. That would make sense with the sun issue as well as these are in more sun now and the colors are fading--and they don't get the consistent moisture that would help them survive that kind of situation. Hmm.

colleen, wouldn't it be nice to live off the grid and bike to work?! In my dreams... :)

entangled, thanks! I was kind of hoping to encourage more people to do this as well... I like reading and borrowing other people's ideas as well.

layanee, that's a good point--even an appreciation post would be a great way of pointing out the little things.

me, that's a good way to put it... I do go out of my way for some things, but there are areas in which I just cannot sacrifice. (Mainly for financial reasons, in my case.) I appreciate the compliment, though.

lisa, when I win the lottery I want to fund some kind of program/company that makes those kinds of upgrades affordable for people like you and me! lol.

annie, I say that same right back to you... I am looking forward to your post, and wrestling with my own! :) I guess that the key is that we are wrestling, and thinking, right?

christopher c. nc, I guess it's kind of obvious that I've been stung before by such attitudes, huh? *grin*

kris at blithewold... you just caused me to go check the power strip. The one that had the fan plugged into it--the fan that hasn't been on for two days. Yeah... it was on. Oops.

So I guess that whatever we all write, and talk about, we're already reminding each other of the little things. So it's working. :)

Jodi, amen! And you're right, there are some people who just will never change. I can't imagine my Dad getting rid of his regular weed-and-feed schedule, although I really wish he would.

mr. mcgregor's daughter, I agree with you 100%. On both counts. :)

Kylee Baumle said...

I won't claim to be as green as I could be, but I also admire those who do way more than their share yet feel like they don't do enough.

I will say that I'm much more aware of such things than I ever was and it does influence some of the actions I take.

Baby steps, I say . . . Always room for improvement, but every step in the right direction is just that.

Shirley said...

Thanks for promoting this, Kim :-D

I completely understand what you are saying. I have been thinking about it since I first read your post. I have signed up now and have some thoughts on a post :-)

Melissa said...

I will comment back to you here as I don't usually comment back on my blog and am afraid people won't find my response.

I've read that quote by FLW before and I have many of his quotes in an database I keep for quotes but not that one. I may need to put in there.

I should go through my Ansel Adams quotes - he has some profound quotes on God and nature as does Jung.

Anyhow - I wanted to let you know that I spent a lot of time yesterday evening thinking on the environmental thing because I am passionate about it but am often turned off by those enviro-saints (I love your coinage there).

I too have certain strong-holds that I won't change because of my financial status (for instance I would love to build a 'green' home with a grey water recycling system in it among other green features). I also have small penny-pincher strongholds. I also have places where I don't fight the family too much as it is not worth the battle.

Still my heart is there and I often wish I could do even more. I am fortunate as a SAHM there are things I do that are convenient for me that would be difficult to accomplish if I worked.

As I thought about all this last evening, I realized that my firmest conviction is that we've moved too far away from the so-called circle of life. I don't believe the religion that surrounds the concept but I do believe that this world was designed with cycles - cycles that every living creature is meant to participate in. What we take from nature we are meant to restore in one way or another. However, humans have become slaves to convenience and don’t restore what we take. We tie our food waste up in garbage disposals and landfills. Our greywater enters the black water recycling system. We tie up way to much water in the production of products that lock the water in but decay so slowly that the water is tied up indefinitely depleting our water supply. I think if we thought of ways to put back what we take out or take out less we would fix this problem.

I know that sounds a lot like what eco-saints and recyclers have told us but I find it more digestible when I think about it as basic science and our duty to the world we live. Our response as creatures should be to live how we were designed and we don’t.

I know a return to the old days is impossible. Especially when it comes to the physical method of living but I think we could learn a lot from their ideas and thoughts about responsible living.

Jessica Harwood said...

I can so relate to that feeling of inadequacy when faced with an "Eco-saint". I thought I was an environmentalist till I got to college and met some people who were "real" environmentalists. Seems like you could always be doing more, eh? I agree though that every bit helps.

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

Hey Kim,

My two cents worth : Grow a garden is always listed as one of the things you can do to help the environment. Trees and shrubs do their part in cleaning the air.

So you've already done a great deal in that respect !

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Amen to that! It's exactly why I signed up and wrote today as well. Little things make a huge difference. Always have and always will. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

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