The other day a friend of mine wrinkled up his face and spouted, “At least I’m not one of those environmentalists!” Me, being me, had to respond. I asked him, “Really? Are you for or against clean water?” He looked at me and said nothing. I continued.
“Would you favor a polluted river or a clean river? Do you want an ocean full of trash or a clean ocean? How about our air? Do you want to breathe clean air or dirty air? Would you rather eat pure food, or do you prefer the taste of pesticides and herbicides? How about our National Parks? You like those? Or should we do away with those and build more shopping centers and suburbs? What do you say we hunt down every last tiger and rhino in the wild? Why not? They are already 90% gone anyway. Why try to save them?”
Of course, he got my point. (I try not to hang out with stupid people). But I got his point, too. His reaction against “environmentalists” was based on the fanatical side of the environmental movement. I can’t say I blame him. Too many times, under the banner of the green movement, some group will pull some outrageous stunt to gain publicity. But this tactic backfires and turns people like my friend against the green movement.
The thing is, we are all environmentalists. Only a fool would argue he prefers a dirty environment. Only a fool would approve of dumping toxic waste into our streams and rivers and oceans. Only a fool would approve of wiping out our wildlife. People are for the most part rational people who, given half the facts, will do the right thing. The key is education. Becoming “green” doesn’t require fanatical behavior. It requires change, true, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Small changes, taken in incremental steps, can have a big impact.
Next time you need to replace a light bulb, replace it with a fluorescent bulb. Consolidate your trips around town to save gas. Once a month, bring your bags to the grocery store instead of bringing home more plastic bags and throwing them away. Doing these things, over time, add up to a big impact. It’s the right thing to do and in the end, when you think about it, it fits your philosophy. You are an environmentalist, whether you admit it or not.