08 December 2010

Five ways to give your green momentum CPR when it starts to flatline

Almost ready for bed...it's time for a little contemplation before turning the lights out. Face freshly scrubbed with homemade cleanser, you begin the ritual of brushing your teeth into pearly white luminosity with the insanely effective and dirt cheap combo of dry baking soda and half a teaspoon of water. For what seems like the 345,986 time in your life, you poise your white powder-caked 100% recycled content toothbrush and launch into an auto-pilot scrub. You casually survey the hodge podge of organic, chemical-free supplies in your grooming arsenal while considering how satisfying it's been contributing to a greener future. All things considered, you're probably as low-carbon as it gets without ceasing to exist altogether -- all by choice, though. You don't hear this greenie complaining.

You tell yourself that it's kind of nice not having to deal with as many looney-bin stares as you used to get back in the day when you reached for the Tofurky or the nutritional yeast. A lot of things have changed in that respect. Willingly biking to the store with an armful of canvas bags flapping in the wind is no longer cause for lookey-loos to pelt you with spit bombs -- a huge bonus. It's all going mainstream...the recycling efforts, sourcing organic, locally-grown food and cleaning everything in God's creation with vinegar. You're happy that so many people have taken a shine to green living and you cheerfully declare that it's great to finally be in such diverse and enthusiastic company. Turning on a luxuriously thin stream of water, you quickly draw in enough of the precious fluid to swish the baking soda out of every nook and cranny of your mouth before cutting off the supply altogether. Ahhh...all in a day's work.

In spite of your admirable self-administered pep talk, sometimes taking solace in your small yet notable eco-coups -- scored thrift store duds and expired yet recycled coupons included -- can not take away from the fact that the pathway to green salvation may still be tangled with tumbleweeds. It's often encouraging to know that you're not the only one fighting the good fight, but every so often, reality hits you right between the eyes. That secret telepathic greenie connection that you envision having with a fellow organic shopper as they scrutinize the origins of their grapes? Instantly shattered when they whip out their Handiwipes and casually ditch the non-recyclable packaging along with its dirty, crumpled-up remains in the display of heirloom tomatoes.

Jaded but not hopeless, you forge ahead, only to later observe someone in the parking lot devilishly revving their engine for over 7 minutes while taunting a hungry puppy and two cows (hey, it could happen) with their seven layer Mc Drippin' High Fructose Cornified Beef Stack -- what a villanous abomination!!! Why'd they have to involve the puppy for God's sake and couldn't they at the very least have shut off their engine first??

Take a deep breath and fear not, green crusader, because when life gets you down and you start thinking that you could very well be one of the last standing bona fide greenies in the world, all you need to do is take a moment to peruse the following list of lighting speed momentum boosters. Before you know it, that frown will turn upside down.

1) If you want something done the right way, do it yourself. You'll probably never again cross paths with the eco-offender in question, so put aside your embarrassment or whatever emotion might prevent you from intervening and just take care of their crime against nature yourself. Carelessly or intentionally chucked yet recyclable objects can easily be retrieved as covertly or as triumphantly as possible -- it all depends on your mood and level of greenie determination.

2) When in doubt, pound your chest and shout. Dyed-in-the-wool greenies are a passionate bunch, so tap into any dramatic coaching you may have had in a former life and make your disapproval known to the eco-offender. Sometimes, real change comes when people are forced into it, especially in a public forum with several witnesses present. The very best antidote to being a sucky fair weather greenie is embarrassment, plain and simple.

3) Offer well-intentioned advice to the eco-offender along with an opportunity for redemption. This middle of the road approach is ideal when you're not crazy about options 1 or 2 and you just so happen to possess rousing motivational speaking skills that could very well transform the eco-offender from a flake into a full-throttle green-ominator.

4) Use guided imagery to give the eco-offender a theoretical can of whoop-ass. Perhaps it's not a fulfilling as the real thing, but it can still be awfully fun to imagine. With none of the unwelcome legal entanglements of fist to flesh, it's Wii for the peaceful tree-hugging green set...but with a tasty little virtual yowch-inducing edge.

5) When all else fails, indulge in one dozen assorted donuts or some other wildly inappropriate foodstuff that hasn't touched your lips in years. High volume is key to this mood-boosting ritual. Get lost in the sugar, fat and chemicals as they tumble down into your esophagus and terrorize your insides. Feels so good in a bad, bad way. Once you begin experiencing junk food hallucinations of the highest order, it will be easier to comprehend how every effort you've made to green your corner of the world is not negated by the careless actions of few fair weather greenies. Yes, every little bit counts. I think I can, I think I can...I know I can! Maybe you'll need a fifth of vodka to really grasp the lesson in all of this, so let it flow, because you are fighting a good fight that must not be swayed by outside forces! Stay the course, green one. It will all come into focus. Peace out.

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
Elizah Leigh's master's degree in education combined with her passion for the written word and deep-seated interest in environmental issues has proven to be the ideal trifecta for her present status as a green journalist. Currently commissioned to write a reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit: cc:flickr.com/photos/eleven