What is Green Living, Anyway?
Kelly Woods, writer
9 June 2017
I was reading a green living forum the other day, and I came across this simple question: “What is green living?” It struck me as a good place to start.
Often, when we speak from our areas of expertise, we are so versed in their language, that we forget what it might be like to be an outsider.
Think of your workplace. How many times have you caught yourself using an acronym in conversation with an outsider, only to later realize that, of course, they had no idea what you were talking about. Ever heard of “Christianese?” Or “jargon” Or “tech speak?”
When pontificating on green living, it might be a good idea to take a step back and attempt to define it. Or, at least define it in our own terms.
So, what, exactly, is green living?
Without being too esoteric, I do think green living means something slightly different to each of us. We all have different priorities when it comes to green living. Some us care deeply about our oceans, and are passionate about reducing plastic pollution. Others want to see healthy food enter our bodies, and try to eat pesticide-free. Others want to set an example by living car-free. Others want to live self-sufficiently, and grow our own food. Others are passionate about advocacy, and changing the larger systems that govern us.
All of these examples have one thing in common. They are behaviours; behaviours that stem from the central place of love.
“Green living, is, at its core, an act of love.”
It is an act of love for our planet. Our home.
It is an act of love for the creatures, animals, plants and humans around us.
It is an act of love for our families, and for future generations.
Sure, for some of us, it might be motivated by fact. It might even be motivated by self-preservation (which is really just an act of love for ourselves, isn’t it?).
But, in order for green living to be sustainable, it needs to come from a deeper place. It needs to hit home in the heart.
In short, green living is acting in a way that expresses our deep love for the earth and its inhabitants.
When you love something, you work to prevent harm to it. When you see it hurting, you actively seek to help it. When you love something, and you are aware of what you could do to alleviate its pain, you don’t hesitate. You act. You act because you can’t not. Because, if you can do anything – anything at all – you will.
Even if you aren’t guaranteed results. Even if, sometimes, you know it’s a dying cause.
I could go on about all of the things green living involves: recycling, advocacy, zero-waste living, tiny houses, cloth diapers and growing and eating organic foods. Many of these things I practice myself. Many of them are evidence of a person who is “living green.”
But, they aren’t really the point.
The point is, that if we act, not out of obligation or even emergency (both good enough reasons to make some serious changes), but out of love, we have a much better chance of living in a way that respects, honours and protects our home and its inhabitants.
Green living is about living in accordance with this love. A love that blossoms – maybe with ourselves, maybe with our family, maybe with our relationship with nature – and propels us to action.
So, as much as I write about green living (the how-to’s, and the what-to’s, and the what-ifs), I will always be coming at it from a place of “why.”
And, for me, that “why” will always be love.
How about you? Do you think we have a better chance of making lasting change, if we come at it from a place of love? What motivates you to care about our planet? Please share in the comments.
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