One of the essential elements of the green movement is to challenge our comfort zones. I've heard people say, "I'm busy, I don't have time to separate my trash", at a party as I try to separate the aluminum out of the clean up bags. I've heard the argument that "global warming" is just left wing propoganda and that it really doesn't matter anyway. Truthfully, I'm not a scientist and the conflicting reports remind me that you can find a statistic to say anything you want to hear. I'd just prefer not to politicize a love of the planet.
I began to consider some of the hyper-eco heroes we've seen in the headlines. Colin Beavan's No Impact Project immediately comes to mind. Mr. Beavan and his family spent a year living with "no impact" by buying nothing except for locally grown food, walking or biking everywhere, and creating zero impact by offsetting everything they did with an ecofriendly offset. I've not had a chance to see the documentary, but it has a national television premier, August 28th on Planet Green (click here for the trailer).
Another inspiring story is Amy and Adam Korst, with their Green Garbage Project. From July 6, 2009 to July 6, 2010 they conserved and documented every single piece of trash they generated. They made conscious steps to produce zero trash. At the end of they year, the trash they had fit in a SHOEBOX. Consider that the next 52 weeks when you wheel your full garbage can to the curb for trash collection.
These are only two examples of the sort of folks I consider "extreme greenies". They are going beyond mindfulness and into full fledged activism. I am inspired, but also the first to admit, I don't think I could do what they've done.
In a recent conversation with my pastor, (while he was talking more about our spiritual paths), he challenged me to choose one thing that I am completely comfortable doing and one thing that I am uncomfortable doing. I thought to apply this to my ever increasing choices to live green.
There are a lot of areas of complete comfort in my greening of my life. I compost kitchen scraps, I dry clothing on a line, I wash in cold water, I use(d) cloth diapers, buy thrift clothing, blah blah blah. I even have walked an occasional errand. (truthfully, where I live the roads are unsafe for bikers, but I can walk in a ditch and avoid crazy drivers that way). I also use reusable female products after an embarrassing service call from the Roto-Rooter man. Perhaps that is TMI, but there is nothing like being told "those really shouldn't be flushed" by a stranger holding a bucketful of a years' worth of such items to make someone get over the squeamish factor.