A friend posted this and its rather well said:
The Village Market was giving away a couple of hundred canvas tote shopping bags this morning when I popped in to buy coffee. It seems the give-away was sponsored in conjunction with a local conservation group and the Auduban Festival over in Sharon Connecticut this weekend. What a lovely gesture. I declined the freebie, since I have two bags that I use consistently. Hopefully others who don’t, will try it out.

I’ve been quite impressed with this little local market in the middle-of-no-where and their conservation efforts and ‘green’ eco-friendly policies. They have, of course, the recycling area for cans and bottles, but also bins for both plastic and paper shopping bag recycling. They also have an area with two large barrels for food donations that go to a co-ordinated multi-church food bank nearby. I didn’t notice that until recently and have dropped a few items in whenever I’m able. They also don’t wrap any of their fruits and veggies in plastic. And none of their local meats and poultry are sold with those Styrofoam tray bottoms–using instead a recycled material. I know they’re small efforts. But efforts nonetheless.

It gets me to thinking, that in spite of the myriad of environmental issues and the apparent on-going energy crisis and climate change dilemma–there are so many individuals and small groups working in unison with larger organisations–which are doing their part, in their own way, to make eco-changes possible. I actually can barely remember a time when my own circle of friends and the small social group I hung with–back in Florida wasn’t into recycling–and didn’t have some very real awareness about the environment in which they lived along with their individual impact on it. Long before scientists and environmentalist–well before Al Gore and his fellows– brought global warming to the world as a very real crisis directly into everyone’s homes, I’ve known folks who were cognoscente of their own environmental footsteps. In very personal ways.

I would venture to say, that I cannot recall in recent memory anyone I’ve known, befriended, or even been well enough acquainted with–who hasn’t made some effort toward conservation and a friendlier and safer environment. From replacing incandescent bulbs thruout their homes with energy saving florescents–to replacing inefficient appliances–turning in petrol sucking cars–and using less chemicals in their households. And I can think of no one I’ve known in recent years who doesn’t have recycling bins in their homes. Many, with gardens–have composting piles. Small changes. By an individual. Add up. All in all, even before the global climate crisis became an issue imperative, I think I’ve been very pleased and proud of the people I’ve known, and their concern and selfless attitudes toward making a difference.

Even when I was a kid coming up in the late 60’s and 1970’s, during perhaps the golden age of careless conspicuous consumption–when plastic began to rule the day and gas guzzling behemoths roamed the highways-I lived in a household that recognised recycling as an important aspect of our day to day lives. I remember returning bottles to the store for the few penny deposit, and gathering cans and bundling newspapers and hauling them every month, with my Dad–to a recycling center. My Father, well into his 80’s when he passed away, continued to recycle and compost and show great concern about the environment and the world around him.

I realise there will always be the large segment of humanity that simply doesn’t care. The selfish, the callous, the self-serving and the recklessly complacent element of society. Those individuals who feel no responsibility for the world around them. Nor for others. And there will no doubt always be the mega-corporations and corrupt governments and the political strong arms which will fight environmental initiatives and place profit over conservation.

But I’m not a doomsday scenario fan. And while the problems are enormous. And immediate. I can’t find it within myself to believe the world is on the very edge of imminent destruction. That there isn’t hope. And a very real sense of growing optimism. Nor can I believe that everything is gloom and impending Armageddon-like destruction. And I know, in no small way, that the only way I can ever hope to be a part of the greater solution, is to do my part. As an individual. Here. And now. And to surround myself with others of like mind, or spark an effort in those who need it. I can only worry myself so much, over the inaction and selfishness of others. And instead, be convinced and comforted knowing I’ve done what I can.

In the world in which I exist–and I think–I’ve always tried to exist–a smallish space and place–a microcosmic hamlet of the global village–I see hope. In one individual at a time.

The reality is, that I’m quite certain I won’t be journeying about on terra firma long enough to see the enormous and imperative global changes made that will be needed to salvage our environment in the long run. Nor will I be here to be a witness to the if’s and when’s of a possible catastrophic era if those changes aren’t implemented. And I certainly don’t have children. I don’t have an argument for conservation and awareness that includes a desire to leave the world a better place for my own off-spring–a next generation that is genetically connected to myself. But I do, in some small way, believe I have, as a participant and a consumer on this planet–a very real responsibility to take care, use caution and common sense as my guide–and if not able to give back all that I’ve taken–then by all means–leave as little a destructive impact as I can.

And in the midst of the the growing anxiousness, the dire warnings, the rancorous pessimism and the enormity of the global challenges, I seriously find some comfort in others who are making even the smallest attempts to do their part. Like those conscientious friends I’m gifted to know and have known, scattered all across this globe. And the small attempts of the little local market in the village. Magnify those efforts by thousands. By hundreds of thousands. And there’s a presumption of Hope.

Given the choice. I’ve always tried to choose optimism. It’s not always easy. And in matters of the environment–with all of the ominous hypothesis and foreboding theories and the menacing facts that are presented before us–it’s often difficult to live in the moment. And embrace what’s now. And present. While still making an effort to preserve for tomorrow.

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